One of the greatest players in the history of football, Lionel Messi has been left out of the nomination list of FIFA Best Player of the Year list for the first time in the recent years.

UEFA Champions League winner Cristiano Ronaldo has made the list and is favourite to win the trophy. He has Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and former teammate from Real Madrid, Luka Modric, as his competition.

The reason for Lionel Messi’s exclusion is apparent. Even though his team won the La Liga title, Barcelona were embarrassed in the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League by AS Roma.

Following the league season, he had a dismal outing with Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2018 where the team struggled to make their way past the group stage. After a competitive loss against the would-be champions France in the Round of 16, Argentina were ousted earlier than expected.

Even though Lionel Messi is considered one of the greatest of all time, that doesn’t warrant him getting a free pass by getting nominated in one of the most important individual player awards in the sport. Cristiano Ronaldo in 2010 faced the same music, and it is good to see there is no disparity on the basis of name value when it comes to recognition.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah got his first nomination in the FIFA Best Player of the Year category. The Egyptian had a sensational season with Liverpool. Not only was he the top scorer in the Premier League, but he also guided the side to a runner’s up spot in the UEFA Champions League.

It can be discussed why his and Messi’s argument for the nomination is the same, as Egypt didn’t even make it out of the group stage. But, when the performances of the two players are looked at objectively, it is clear how much more of an impact Salah had for Liverpool’s success.

However, the dark horse of winning this award has to be Croatian midfielder Luka Modric. The midfield maestro was an integral part of the Real Madrid side that won the unprecedented 13th UEFA Champions League title.

Furthermore, he captained the Croatia side that made it to the final of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Even though his team lost to France by a 4-2 scoreline, Modric won the award for the Best Player of the Tournament.

With that amount of recognition at the highest level of football in two different competitions, Modric is a worthy contender to snap up the title from Ronaldo as well as Salah.