No Lionel Messi, as UEFA release shortlist for Europe’s top player award


On Thursday UEFA announced the shortlist for their “Best Player in Europe” award, as a few names you might have been expecting were left off the list.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer are the three men who are in with a chance of winning the award, as the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Diego Costa didn’t make the cut.

The three players were picked as the finalists by a panel of journalists and the winner will be announced in a glitzy ceremony in Monaco on Aug. 28.

Since the award began in 2011, Ronaldo has been among the final three on every occasion but has yet to win the accolade. This year he will be seen as the clear favorite ahead of Bayern Munich duo Robben and Neuer.

Ronaldo, 28, was Real Madrid’s top scorer during the 2013-14 season and he broke the UEFA Champions League record for most goals in a single tournament with 17 as Real lifted the trophy in Lisbon in May. The Portuguese striker scored 51 goals in 47 appearances last season across all competitions.

As for Neuer, he was voted the German player of the year as Bayern were knocked out at the semifinal stage of the Champions League by Real but won the Bundesliga. Neuer is the first goalkeeper to ever make the shortlist for the reward. Dutch international and fellow Bayern star Robben has enjoyed a wonderful summer with the Netherlands as he propelled the Oranje to the semifinal stage at the World Cup with his wing-wizardry.

All three would be worthy winners of the award but we will found out who collects the gong later this month in Monaco.

The past three winners of this event: 

Franck Ribery – 2012-13
Andres Iniesta – 2011-12
Lionel Messi – 2010-11

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).