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UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award: A list of all the past winners and runners-up
The UEFA Men's Player of the Year award is among the most cherished football awards globally. It is a prestigious honour given to the best male footballer playing for a European club. The award recognizes players who produced extraordinary performances for their clubs and country in the past season.
Some legendary players who won the award include Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Andres Iniesta. Their unique talents and contributions to their clubs and national teams made them stand out among other competitors.
UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award criteria
The award was created in 2011 by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in partnership with European Sports Media (ESM). It replaced the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, awarded from 1998 to 2010. The winner of the accolade is decided by a jury of renowned sports journalists representing each of the UEFA member national associations.
The voting process is conducted in three rounds, after which the winner is announced during every UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony.
UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award winners list
The UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award was previously known as the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. European nationals have dominated the list of UEFA award winners since its inception. Here is a list of all the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award runners-up and winners.
10. Lionel Messi - (2010-11) and (2014–15)
- Full name: Lionel Andrés Messi
- Date of birth: 24 June 1987
- Age: 36 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Rosario, Argentina
- Current club: Inter Miami
Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Messi spent the majority of his career at FC Barcelona, where he won two UEFA awards. Lionel Messi won his first award during the 2010–11 season and his second award during the 2014–15 season.
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9. Andres Iniesta (2011-12)
- Full name: Andrés Iniesta Luján
- Date of birth: 11 May 1984
- Age: 39 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Fuentealbilla, Spain
- Current club: Emirates
Iniesta won the award following his remarkable contribution to Barcelona and the Spain national team. Andres Iniesta managed eight goals and 12 assists in 46 matches, helping Barca win trophies and lift the EURO 2012 trophy with La Roja.
8. Franck Ribery (2012-13)
- Full name: Franck Henry Pierre Ribéry
- Date of birth: 7 April 1983
- Age: 40 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
Ribery is a French former professional footballer who primarily played as a winger. He won his UEFA award while playing for Bayern Munich in 2013. He was also ranked fourth in The Guardian's list of the best players in the world the same year. Franck Ribery announced his retirement and terminated his contract with Salernitana on 20 October 2022.
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7. Cristiano Ronaldo (2013-14), (2015–16) and (2016–17)
- Full name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
- Date of birth: 5 February 1985
- Age: 38 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Hospital Dr. Nélio Mendonça, Funchal, Portugal
- Current club: Al Nassr
The Portuguese star has won the UEFA award three times while playing for Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo has also won five Ballon d'Or awards and a record three UEFA Best Players in Europe. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
6. Luka Modric (2017-18)
- Full name: Luka Modrić
- Date of birth: 9 September 1985
- Age: 38 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Zadar, Croatia
- Current club: Real Madrid
Modric is one of the top stars in the UEFA Player of the Year winners list after clinching the title in the 2017-18 season while playing for Real Madrid. He also won the 2018 World Cup Golden Ball for taking Croatia to the finals. Luka Modrić is widely recognised as the best Croatian footballer of all time, as well as one of the greatest midfielders of all time.
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5. Virgil van Dijk (2018-19)
- Full name: Virgil van Dijk
- Date of birth: 8 July 1991
- Age: 32 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Breda, Netherlands
- Current club: Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk is a Dutch footballer who plays as a centre-back for Premier League club Liverpool and captains the Netherlands national team. Virgil van Dijk is regarded as one of the world's top defenders, and he is noted for his strength, leadership, quickness, and aerial skill.
He is the only defender to have won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award, as well as the Ballon d'Or and Best FIFA Men's Player in 2019.
4. Robert Lewandowski (2019-20)
- Full name: Robert Lewandowski
- Date of birth: 21 August 1988
- Age: 35 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Warsaw, Poland
- Current club: Barcelona
Lewandowski is one of the greatest strikers in history following his record-breaking performances for Bayern Munich. His 55 goals and 10 assists for Bayern in all competitions helped him win the 2019-20 UEFA award ahead of Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and Bayern teammate Manuel Neuer. Robert Lewandowski also won the treble with Bayern.
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3. Jorginho (2020-21)
- Full name: Jorge Luiz Frello Filho Cavaliere
- Date of birth: 20 December 1991
- Age: 31 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Imbituba, State of Santa Catarina, Brazil
- Current club: Arsenal
The midfielder had a successful season with Chelsea and Italy, earning him the coveted prize. He guided Chelsea to UCL victory before winning the Euro 2020 with the Azzurri. After four and a half years at Chelsea, Jorge Luiz joined Arsenal in 2023.
2. Karim Benzema (2021-22)
- Full name: Karim Mostafa Benzema
- Date of birth: 19 December 1987
- Age: 35 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Lyon, France
- Current club: Al-Ittihad
Benzema won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award in 2022, becoming the second French player to win it after Ribery. The Real Madrid striker netted 44 goals for the club in all competitions, helping them win the UCL and La Liga. Karim Benzema is Real Madrid's all-time second-highest goalscorer and top assist provider.
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1. Erling Haaland - (2022–23)
- Full name: Erling Braut Haaland
- Date of birth: 21 July 2000
- Age: 23 years old (as of 2023)
- Place of birth: Leeds, United Kingdom
- Current club: Manchester City
Erling Braut Haaland is a Norwegian professional footballer who is considered one of the best players in the world. He is known for his speed, strength, positioning, and finishing inside the box. Erling Haaland was selected as the league's Young Player and Player of the Season, making him the only player to receive both honours in the same season.
Who won the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award 2023?
Erling Haaland's performances led him to be named UEFA Men's Player of the Year and finish runner-up in the Ballon d'Or.
UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award winners and runners-up
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne
|2018–19||Virgil van Dijk|
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
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Who are the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award 2023 winners?
Manchester City's Erling Haaland was named 2022/23 UEFA Men's Player of the Year. The 23-year-old scored 52 goals in 53 games across all competitions. He won 352 points, defeating Lionel Messi, who had 227 points.
Why is Messi nominated for UEFA Men's Player of the Year?
Messi's remarkable performances during the FIFA World Cup with Argentina truly captured the attention of many. He achieved the distinction of being the first Argentinian since Diego Maradona to raise the World Cup trophy, netting seven goals and earning the Golden Ball for the best overall player at the finals.
Who is the best player in the year 2023?
Lionel Messi is currently regarded as the best player of the year. Messi has won a record eight Ballon d'Or awards and a record six European Golden Shoes.
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Is UEFA Men's Player of the Year the Ballon d Or?
No, the UEFA Men's Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or are two separate awards, although they both recognize outstanding individual performances in football. The UEFA Men's Player of the Year is awarded by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and is specifically focused on players who have excelled in European club competitions as well as in domestic leagues.
The UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award is presented by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to the best-performing male football player in Europe. The current winner is Erling Haaland, who plays as a striker for Premier League club Manchester City and the Norway national team.
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