Benzema, Courtois and De Bruyne nominated for UEFA Men's Player of the Year

By Sports Desk August 12, 2022

Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois, alongside Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, are the three nominees for the 2021-22 UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award.

The three are joined by bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola, plus Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp, on the three-man shortlist for the UEFA Men's Coach of the Year Award.

Ahead of this week's Ballon d'Or nominations, France forward Benzema has further enshrined his frontrunner status, after firing Madrid to a continental double last term in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

But there is no room for any player from Liverpool, the side who Ancelotti's men vanquished in last season's final in Paris.

Five Reds stars - Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho, plus the departed Sadio Mane - made the 15-man longlist, but none made the final cut for the eventual nominations.

Other players included Robert Lewandowski and Luka Modric, who came fourth and fifth respectively, while Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe came eighth, one spot ahead of Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

Benzema is feted for his superb efforts in helping Madrid bounce back to glory under Ancelotti, with 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions, while Courtois is recognised for his superb feats between the posts.

De Bruyne meanwhile helped City and Guardiola to another Premier League crown, while Klopp steered Liverpool to two domestic trophies, plus a second-place league finish and the Champions League final.

The winners will be announced at the ceremony for the 2022-23 Champions League group stage draw in Istanbul on August 25.

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    "He has incredible instincts. It comes from his mum and dad. He was born with that."

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    "I have had incredible centre-forwards in my career," Guardiola continued. "What I liked was in the last period of the game, he was involved. I want him to be involved.

    "He became a player to score goals, but I want him in contact with the ball. I like him being part of those situations.

    "But of course, he has to put the ball in the net, and he is a fantastic striker." 

    Haaland has started all 11 of City's competitive games this term, and Guardiola plans to offer him the opportunity to rest at some point. 

    "He will take a break. There will be games he is not going to play," he said.

    "We are lucky, last season he could not play many games in a row – here we have incredible physios and thanks to them, he can play every 90 minutes.

    "They are so important – with their hands, they allow players to play."

  • 'It comes from his mum and dad' – Guardiola labels Haaland a born goalscorer after derby treble 'It comes from his mum and dad' – Guardiola labels Haaland a born goalscorer after derby treble

    Pep Guardiola described Erling Haaland as a born goalscorer after he claimed another hat-trick in Manchester City's derby rout of Manchester United, declaring: "what he is doing, I didn't teach him".

    Haaland continued his fine start to life in England by playing a central role in City's 6-3 win over United, clinching a treble and adding two assists for fellow hat-trick hero Phil Foden.

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    "He became a player to score goals, but I want him in contact with the ball. I like him being part of those situations.

    "But of course, he has to put the ball in the net, and he is a fantastic striker." 

    Haaland has started all 11 of City's competitive games this term, and Guardiola plans to offer him the opportunity to rest at some point. 

    "He will take a break. There will be games he is not going to play," he said.

    "We are lucky, last season he could not play many games in a row – here we have incredible physios and thanks to them, he can play every 90 minutes.

    "They are so important – with their hands, they allow players to play."

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