IT appears an end is near to Messi-Ronaldo dominance in world soccer, as the Barcelona star was left off the shortlist for the FIFA’s player of the year award.
Messi’s name was conspicuously missing on the list as released by FIFA on Monday for the first time in over a decade.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s old rival however, was named alongside Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool.
Messi, a five-time winner of the award, had finished second in the voting for each of Ronaldo’s five previous wins in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.
Modric is best-placed to become the first new name to win the award for 10 years after a superb season for club and country.
Messi has dominated the award along with Ronaldo over the past decade, but the Barcelona star has been omitted from the top three for the first time since 2006.
Egyptian Salah’s 44 goals in an incredible debut season for Liverpool saw him edge out Messi and French World Cup stars Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann for a place in the top three.