Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are the three finalists for The Best FIFA Men's Player award.

FIFA announced a 10-man shortlist for the gong in July and, following the initial voting period, the final three have been revealed.

Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe and Mohamed Salah were the seven players cut from the initial list.

Liverpool defender Van Dijk is the favourite of many after playing a vital role in the Reds' Champions League triumph and their Premier League title challenge – finishing just a point behind Manchester City.

He was recognised for his exploits just last week, when he was named UEFA's Player of the Year, beating Messi and Ronaldo to the prize.

The Netherlands international also helped his country to the final of the Nations League, only for a Ronaldo-inspired Portugal to lift the inaugural title.

Ronaldo also enjoyed success at club level, helping Juventus cruise to an eighth successive Scudetto, finishing as their top scorer across all competitions with 28 goals.

Messi's numbers dwarfed Ronaldo's, though, as the Barcelona star scored 51 goals in total, including 36 from 29 starts in LaLiga, with Barca retaining their title.

Those goal-scoring exploits won Messi the European Golden Shoe and, on top of being LaLiga's most prolific player, he also set up 13 goals, a haul only matched by Pablo Sarabia.

Messi's Barca team-mate Marc-Andre ter Stegen is among the three finalists for the goalkeeper award, with City's Ederson and Alisson of Liverpool also in the hunt.

And there is a distinct Premier League feel to the final three of the coaches' award, with Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino all in the running.

The winners will be announced on September 23.

Jurgen Klopp hailed Virgil van Dijk's UEFA Men's Player of the Year award as a prize for all of Liverpool's players.

Van Dijk enjoyed a supreme 2018-19 campaign, helping Liverpool to Champions League glory and captaining Netherlands to the Nations League final.

The former Southampton defender has maintained his form heading into this season and edged out superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the honour in Monaco on Thursday.

Klopp was quick to laud Van Dijk's individual displays but pointed out his triumph was one that would not be possible without all of Liverpool's squad.

"Brilliant! It's really big. I wanted to call him immediately, but he had to go on stage. I'm so happy for him," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"I'm happy for us as well because he knows that without the boys around him, he cannot win that prize.

"It's a prize for all of us – but we send our big man there to get it. It's really rare for a defender. Yes, we all love goals – we want to score them and see them – but more and more and more people get excited about defending.

"Virg is an exceptional defender, in the moment 100 per cent the best defender in the world, so he deserves that prize absolutely.

"It's now the icing on the cake of the Champions League campaign last year."

The awards ceremony took place after the Champions League draw, in which Liverpool were pitted against Napoli, Salzburg and Genk in the group stage.

Van Dijk's team-mate Alisson picked up the Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season accolade and Klopp had no doubt the Brazilian was worthy.

"I would say well, well, well deserved. He made exceptional saves," Klopp said.

"In the first season with us and immediately winning the Champions League. What a year he had, he won the Champions League, won the Copa America and now is the best goalie of last year."

Sadio Mane feels Roberto Firmino deserves the credit for Liverpool's UEFA Super Cup triumph, although it was the Senegal star who struck twice.

Olivier Giroud gave Chelsea the lead in Istanbul on Wednesday in what was the first all-English Super Cup clash.

But after Firmino came off the bench for the start of the second half, he provided two assists for Mane to turn the tie around before Jorginho made it 2-2 with a penalty.

Adrian, deputising for Alisson, was then the hero by denying Blues striker Tammy Abraham to give the Reds a 5-4 victory on penalties.

Even though Mane is Liverpool's top scorer in 2019 with 18 goals in all competitions, he is more than happy to share the limelight.

"To be honest, I think I was just a lucky boy," Mane told UEFA.

"I think all the credit should go to my team-mates, especially Bobby [Firmino] – he could have scored but he preferred to give it to me.

"I think this is how we play at Liverpool. We play for each other and we always enjoy playing for each other and to give each other passes. I think that makes us strong."

Liverpool, who won their Premier League opener 4-1 at home to Norwich City last week, are back in action away to Mane's old club Southampton on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini is happy to see Adrian making an immediate impact at Liverpool but would have liked to have kept the goalkeeper at West Ham.

Adrian left London Stadium as a free agent at the end of last season and signed for European champions Liverpool, replacing Simon Mignolet as Alisson's back-up.

But an injury to Alisson in the Premier League opener against Norwich City saw Adrian quickly thrust into the action at Anfield.

And on just his first start for Liverpool, the Spaniard proved their UEFA Super Cup final hero with a decisive penalty shoot-out save from Chelsea's Tammy Abraham on Wednesday.

Adrian had been restricted to cup appearances last season, with Lukasz Fabianski the West Ham number one, but Pellegrini still sought to keep the 32-year-old.

"I'm happy for him because he played a lot of years here at West Ham," Pellegrini told a news conference, reflecting on Adrian's display against Chelsea. "He's a very good goalkeeper.

"For different reasons, he couldn't find an arrangement to continue here. We wanted him here because not only is he a good goalkeeper, he's a good player for the squad also.

"He had some problems at the start of the season, so signing for Liverpool and having this performance, I'm very happy for him."

Adrian spent six years at West Ham, largely operating as the club's first choice prior to Fabianski's 2018 arrival.

The former Real Betis man is set to continue in the Liverpool goal against Southampton this weekend, with Alisson out for "the next few weeks" - as confirmed by Jurgen Klopp.

Lyon trio Ada Hegerberg, Lucy Bronze and Amandine Henry have been nominated for the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.

Hegerberg won the inaugural Ballon d'Or Feminin last year and will look to add the UEFA prize to her collection, having finished as runner-up in 2017-18 to Denmark and Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder.

The 24-year-old dazzled as Lyon won their 13th consecutive French title last season, scoring 20 goals in as many top-flight appearances along with seven in nine Champions League outings – crowning a magnificent campaign with a hat-trick in the 4-1 final victory over Barcelona in Budapest.

However, Hegerberg did not participate in the World Cup, having not represented Norway since the 2017 European Championship due to frustrations over the standing of the women's game in her homeland.

Lyon colleague Bronze did feature in France, playing a starring role in England's second consecutive run to the semi-finals.

The former Manchester City right-back is the first English nominee for the award.

Midfielder Henry completes the nominees having finished third behind Harder and Hegerberg last time around.

Henry was runner-up in 2014-15 and 2015-16 – to Hegerberg on the latter occasion – making her four nominations a new record in the award's seventh year.

Champions League winner Virgil van Dijk is joined by Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo on the three-man shortlist for UEFA's Player of the Year award.

Van Dijk played a vital role in Liverpool's successful European campaign, playing 12 times en route to lifting the trophy.

As well as the UEFA recognition, he is also expected to be a major contender for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, as is Messi.

Barcelona reached the semi-finals before being eliminated by Liverpool, but Messi still managed to enjoy a fine Champions League campaign.

The Argentina star scored 12 goals – including two against the Reds at Camp Nou – from 10 matches.

Ronaldo's inclusion is rather more surprising, given Juventus were eliminated by Ajax in the quarter-finals.

The Portugal attacker scored a respectable six times in nine matches, but that was an unspectacular impact compared to his 15-goal haul in 12 outings the season before.

The shortlist was selected by a jury of 80 coaches from clubs involved in the Champions League and Europa League group stages, plus 55 journalists from UEFA's 55 member associations.

One of the three players will be presented with the award on August 29, during the Champions League group stage draw ceremony.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard warned there is "lots, lots more to come" from star signing Christian Pulisic following the club's UEFA Super Cup defeat to Liverpool.

Pulisic showed glimpses in his starting debut for Chelsea, who suffered a 5-4 penalty shoot-out loss against Liverpool following Wednesday's 2-2 draw in Istanbul.

A £58million arrival from Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic played in Olivier Giroud for the 36th-minute opener before the highly rated United States international had a goal of his own ruled out for offside prior to the interval.

With Eden Hazard now at Real Madrid, all eyes have naturally turned to Pulisic and Lampard praised the 20-year-old attacker post-match.

"I was pleased and there is a lot more to come," Lampard told reporters. "The expectancy is right, he is a big signing for us but you have to remember his age. He's 20 and come into the league, into this game, against Liverpool, one of the most intense teams in football.

"It took a bit of time early in the game to get his feeling. But once he did, you could see his confidence in carrying the ball and to create.

"I am really happy with him. There is lots, lots more to come, again all the good signs for what he can be for the club."

N'Golo Kante also impressed in midfield as Chelsea responded well to last week's 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United in the Premier League.

Under an injury cloud heading into the Super Cup, Kante looked comfortable in a dominant performance against Champions League holders Liverpool, having only been fit enough for the bench at Old Trafford.

"He is an amazing player and character, he just wants to play," Lampard said. "He is humble in his life, but on the pitch he is a machine.

"Of course, he will be hugely important. This is a player who hasn't trained much, had a swollen ankle on Tuesday evening and he wanted to play today and managed 120 minutes. You saw what he brings to the team. There will be more as he hasn't trained much.

"I am delighted to work with him, I respect him so much as a player and now it is really nice to work with him. He will be really big for us."

Lampard, whose Chelsea host Leicester City on Sunday, added: "I loved the performance of Jorginho and Emerson, I thought they were both fantastic. When you think of the 120 minutes for two players that played on Sunday evening.

"Liverpool were fresher than us. I thought they were leaders in the team. I liked the performance of all of my players. Not one player was below par today. Everybody gave everything. Subs gave an impact. So all good."

Liverpool are one UEFA Super Cup trophy away from equalling the hauls of Barcelona and AC Milan after overcoming Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out.

Champions League holders Liverpool claimed their fourth Super Cup thanks to Wednesday's 5-4 triumph on penalties in Istanbul.

Goalkeeper Adrian proved the hero for Liverpool, denying Chelsea's Tammy Abraham from the spot after the showdown ended 2-2 at the end of extra time.

Liverpool celebrated as they joined Real Madrid on four Super Cups, within touching distance of five-time winners Barca and Milan.

Adrian was thrilled to help Liverpool win the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea on his first start for the club.

Deputising for the injured Alisson, Adrian denied Tammy Abraham to seal a 5-4 penalty shoot-out success for the European champions over Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday.

With Alisson expected to miss several weeks due to a calf injury sustained against Norwich City in last week's Premier League opener, Adrian will have more chances to impress.

And the former West Ham goalkeeper was delighted to have made an impact on his full Reds debut as Jurgen Klopp's side made up for losing the Community Shield to Manchester City on penalties.

"Welcome to Liverpool! It has been a crazy week," Adrian said to BT Sport. "I am happy for the team, with them it is easy.

"I am happy to win the trophy. I am really happy for the fans. It was a long game but in the end it was a great finish."

Adrian was able to make amends for conceding a penalty in extra time, Jorginho converting to make it 2-2 after the goalkeeper felled Abraham.

Replays appeared to indicate contact with the striker was minimal and Adrian disagreed with the decision made by Stephanie Frappart, who became the first female official to take charge of a major men's final.

"I tried to stop when I saw him. The striker is intelligent," Adrian added. 

"I touched him but he was looking for it. I told the referee I tried to stop but it doesn't matter.

"We got the title and have to enjoy tonight."

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson accepted the Reds were not at their best against the Europa League winners but cited difficult conditions for their unimposing performance.

"It was tough. It is humid here - you can't tell on the TV," Henderson told BT Sport. "It was tough with extra time - a lot of the lads were struggling. We were trying to keep the ball and get a breather but it was a bit sloppy.

"Chelsea are a good side and this is not a great way for them to lose, like we did in the Community Shield. I'm delighted for Adrian, who is the hero tonight.

"We've got a big game on Saturday [against Southampton] so I'm delighted. We want to win as many trophies as possible. We'll take the trophy back and enjoy it, but we've got to focus on recovery for a big game on Saturday.

"We didn't play particularly well but we kept grinding in tough conditions, kept going. It's another trophy for us and it's important to keep winning. Hopefully we can continue this run of form now."

Adrian saved from Tammy Abraham as Liverpool beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to win the first all-English UEFA Super Cup following a 2-2 draw in Istanbul.

Olivier Giroud gave Frank Lampard's side a deserved first-half lead on Wednesday, but the introduction of Roberto Firmino as a half-time substitute changed the game for the Reds.

Firmino quickly set up Mane for the equaliser and, in the first period of extra time, the Senegal star smashed home from his team-mate's pass again before Jorginho equalised from the penalty spot.

But it was the European champions who triumphed in the shoot-out, Alisson's deputy Adrian denying Abraham with his right leg to secure victory for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Sadio Mane and N'Golo Kante both start in the UEFA Super Cup clash between Liverpool and Chelsea in Istanbul.

Mane came off the bench as Liverpool opened their Premier League season by beating promoted Norwich City at Anfield but starts on Wednesday for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Kante, meanwhile, was a second-half substitute as Chelsea were thumped at Manchester United. He comes into midfield as Frank Lampard leaves out Ross Barkley and Mason Mount.

Christian Pulisic makes his full debut for Chelsea after coming off the bench at Old Trafford while Olivier Giroud replaces Tammy Abraham in attack.

Antonio Rudiger, who missed the end of last season with a serious knee injury, makes his return to the Chelsea squad but the centre-back is only on the bench. Billy Gilmour, an 18-year-old midfielder, is also among the substitutes.

Mane comes into the Liverpool team along with James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum drop out.

Matip, making his 100th appearance for the Reds, is included in defence with Gomez shifting across to right-back, while former West Ham goalkeeper Adrian starts for the first time with Alisson ruled out by a calf injury sustained against Norwich.

Before announcing their team, Liverpool confirmed Naby Keita was not available due to an injury suffered in training on Tuesday.

"The muscle strain occurred around the hip area and Keita will be assessed further by the Reds' medical team in the coming days," said a statement from the club.

The game, the first Super Cup to be contested by two English clubs, will see French official Stephanie Frappart take charge.

She will become the first female to take charge of a major UEFA men's competition event, Frappart having also been the referee for the Women's World Cup final last month.

Stephanie Frappart will become the first female official to referee a major UEFA men's match when she takes charge of the Super Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea.

UEFA have confirmed Frappart, who refereed the FIFA Women's World Cup final between the United States and the Netherlands in Lyon, will officiate the clash between the Champions League and Europa League winners in Istanbul on August 14.

Frappart will lead a team made up of predominantly female officials in the European season's curtain raiser, with Manuela Nicolosi of France and Michelle O'Neal from the Republic of Ireland appointed as the assistant referees.

 

Bulgaria have been ordered to partially close their national stadium for Euro 2020 qualifiers against England and Czech Republic following racist behaviour by fans.

UEFA on Friday announced sanctions following incidents of racism in Bulgaria's past two matches in June, at home to Kosovo and away to Czech Republic.

For the incident in the Czech Republic match, Bulgaria have been told to make 5,000 seats in the Vasil Levski stadium unavailable to supporters for the October 14 clash with England.

In the empty space, the Bulgarian Football Union has been told to display an "#EqualGame" UEFA banner.

The same banner will be in place for the November 17 match against Czech Republic, with 3,000 seats closed off to supporters as punishment for behaviour in the Kosovo game.

UEFA closed disciplinary proceedings against Latvia for alleged racist behaviour in their clash with Israel last month, but the Romania Under-21 team will see at least 2,000 seats closed for their next home match.

This comes following racist behaviour by fans at the Romanian youngsters' European Under-21 Championship win over Croatia last month, and the Romanian Football Federation has been fined €2,000 due to fireworks and objects being thrown.

UEFA also fined Greece €63,500 and Ukraine €15,250 for offences including the setting off of fireworks.

The Greece match against Italy on June 8 also included a late kick-off, for which disciplinary proceedings against head coach Angelos Anastasiadis have been closed.

UEFA has denied reports it would entertain inviting Argentina into its European competitions following the 2019 Copa America.

Argentina finished third at the Copa but captain and star man Lionel Messi voiced complaints following the semi-final and the third-place play-off, during which he was controversially sent off.

Messi described the officiating during the loss to Brazil as "bull****" and suggested his side were victims of "corruption" after beating Chile, which led to a strong rebuttal from CONMEBOL who described his comments as "unacceptable" and "unfounded".

It was subsequently reported UEFA could invite Argentina to enter its Nations League.

However, European football's governing body has denied this is the case, insisting such an offer would never be forthcoming.

A statement read: "There is no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that Argentina has been asked to participate in UEFA competitions, nor to become a member of UEFA.

"UEFA has never entered into any discussions on this matter and would never do so.

"However, in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie and as an inclusive organisation, UEFA will, of course, invite Argentina as special guests to watch any UEFA competition at any time."

Former UEFA president Michel Platini was released by police after being questioned during investigations into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Platini, who turns 64 on Friday, was released on Wednesday after being questioned by officers of the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police in Paris.

Accompanied by his lawyer William Bourdon, Platini looked drawn as he left the office.

"It was long but considering the number of questions, it could only be long," Platini told reporters.

"The custody is lifted," Bourdon said. "A lot, a lot of noise for nothing."

Platini was serving on FIFA's executive committee in 2010 when Qatar was awarded the rights to host the 2022 World Cup.

He was later banned from football for a period of four years after being found to have breached FIFA's code of ethics regarding conflict of interest and dereliction of duty relating to a "disloyal payment" from former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Platini, who won the Ballon d'Or three times and represented Juventus and France during a glittering playing career, missed out on the opportunity to run for the presidency of FIFA due to his ongoing ban.

FIFA indicated on Tuesday it would support the investigation into Qatar's successful World Cup bid, while declining to comment on the specifics of Platini's case.

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