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Ronaldo, Messi on UEFA award shortlist, edging Will Grigg

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are on the 10-player shortlist to be named UEFA Best Player in Europe for last season. Fan favorite Will Grigg missed out but got as many points as Paul Pogba.

Ronaldo is joined by Pepe, his teammate on European champion teams Portugal and Real Madrid, on the shortlist voted by media from each of UEFA’s 55 member federation countries.

The 10 candidates had the biggest points totals in a first-round poll of voters who each picked five players.

Grigg, the Northern Ireland forward who became a cult hero at the European Championship without even playing, finished in joint 25th position. He tallied the same points as Pogba and Giorgio Chiellini.

The 10 candidates also include Madrid’s Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos, who both reached the Euro 2016 semifinals with Wales and Germany, respectively.

A second round of voting will decide the three finalists named on Aug. 5.

The winner will be chosen in a final vote to be announced on Aug. 25 during the Champions League group-stage draw in Monaco.

Best Player in Europe Candidates: Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus), Antoine Griezmann (France, Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Thomas Mueller (Germany, Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich), Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona).

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