UEFA officially on Thursday named both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in their team of the year.
But there was a surprise in their team of the year as no place was given to Paris Saint-Germain ace Neymar in the line-up, despite a year in which the Brazilian made a record-breaking transfer from Barcelona.
Chelsea forward Eden Hazard was selected ahead of Neymar on the left wing, while there was further representation for the Premier League as Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne features on the right.
The centre of midfield also comprises of Real Madrid duo Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. There’s also presence of Real in defence. Sergio Ramos is in at centre back while Marcelo is on the left.
— Team of the Year 2017 (@ChampionsLeague) January 11, 2018
Neymar might not have a place in the team but his countryman and PSG team-mate Dani Alves has been given a place on the right-back.
And while there have been disappointments for both club and country in 2017, Gianluigi Buffon will be happy to have been selected between the sticks.
There was further shock at some of the other players who missed out.
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea had an exceptional calendar year, capped off by the game against Arsenal, but was not selected.
And while there have been disappointments for both club and country in the year 2017, Gianluigi Buffon will be happy to have made the list between the sticks.
There was further shock at some of the other stars who missed out. Manchester United shot-stopper David De Gea had an impressive run last year, who historically made 14 saves in the match – the joint most by any goalkeeper since they started recording statistics at the start of the 2003/04 season as collated by Opta.
And other shocking disappointment in the UEFA Team of year was the lack of a place for Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante after the Frenchman’s second straight Premier League title.
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah has shrugged off links to Real Madrid, with the Liverpool and Egypt forward ignoring the rumours as he is “happy at Anfield”.
Despite having only returned to the Premier League in the summer of 2017, the former Chelsea player is already generating speculation regarding another big-money move.
Salah’s fine form since his arrival at Liverpool has sparked the transfer talk, having already scored 23 goals this season which reveals why he’s been attracting admiring glances from afar.
The Los Blancos are said to be considering moving for Salah as their next ‘Galatico’ signing, as the reigning La Liga champions prepare for another summer refresh at Santiago Bernabeu, but Salah insists he is paying little attention to the gossip.
The Egyptian forward told Soccer Ladum (via Sport Illustrated):
“Well, I have heard so many rumours it does not bother me any more.
“But I have been treated very well at Liverpool and right now, I belong to Liverpool and I am happy at Anfield.
“Let us leave it at that.”
While attracting interest from Madrid, his exploits for Liverpool – and previously at Roma – have seen him crowned as the African Player of the Year for 2017.
Salah hopes that the award will be followed by many more individual award and collective prizes, with talented forward eager to force his way to the very top.
He added on his future ambition:
“I want to win this award again next year and the year after and perhaps 20 times.
“I want to be one of the greatest players ever to come out of Egypt.
“I am aware of previous players from my country that have achieved a lot, but, meaning no disrespect to any of them, I want to be remembered as the greatest player ever to come from Egypt.”
Salah could make his first appearance of 2018 on Sunday when Liverpool play host to Premier League leaders Manchester City the Matchday 23 of the Premier League fixtures.
A groin injury has kept him out of action for Liverpool last two matches, but he has returned to full fitness and will expect to make Jurgen Klopp’s squad for the Reds crunch clash.