On Monday, the UEFA announced the 10-man shortlist for the Best Player in Europe Award. As expected, some of the biggest names in football made it, but further down the list fans found one big surprise.
The award is voted for by journalists from across Europe, who list their five best players of the 2015-2016 season. Lionel Messi won the first UEFA award in 2011 and also collected the trophy last year. The other winners are Andres Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribery (2013) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2014).
The ten nominees, in alphabetical order, are:
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid – Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus – Italy)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid – France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid – Germany)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona – Argentina)
Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich – Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich – Germany)
Pepe (Real Madrid – Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid – Portugal)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona – Uruguay)
Ronaldo is considered to be the biggest favourite to win the award, after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid and Euro 2016 with Portugal. The 31-year-old forward scored 51 goals for Los Blancos last season.
However, the big news was the ranking of Will Grigg. The Northern Ireland international became a hit sensation at Euro 2016, despite not playing a single minute in France. Grigg scored 25 goals for Wigan last season and received as many votes as Paul Pogba, Hugo Lloris, Giorgio Chiellini, and Diego Godin.
Not surprisingly, Twitter couldn’t understand Grigg’s ranking:
Will Grigg has been voted the 25th best player in Europe by journalists from UEFA’s members.That’s level with Pogba. pic.twitter.com/iOEEXuQg7G
— TheFootballRepublic (@TheFootballRep) 18 juli 2016
— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) 18 juli 2016
Will Grigg voted Europe’s joint 25th-best player for 2015/16 – the same ranking as £100m Paul Pogba. Let that sink in a moment… 😂
— Free Bets (@freebetscouk) 18 juli 2016
— Spurred On (@spurredontv) 18 juli 2016
Will Grigg has been voted 25th best player in Europe, better than Pogba, Aubameyang and De Bruyne pic.twitter.com/9Rf4WMYGnQ
— The_Lil_Magician (@Lil_Magician10) 18 juli 2016
The Will Grigg craziness continues… He got as many points as Pogba in vote for UEFA’s best player in Europe prize. pic.twitter.com/ZM3ahA0FGT
— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) 18 juli 2016
Will Grigg in the top 25 for European Best Player.Congratulations UEFA, you just played yourself.
— Sam Kariu (@samkariu) 18 juli 2016
Let’s just let this one sink in. Will Grigg who played 0 mins at the Euros & played in League 1 as good as Pogba?… pic.twitter.com/gYIsqk0h8y
— Gaz Shadwell (@GazShadwell) 18 juli 2016
— Vince Van Genechten (@VVGenechten) 18 juli 2016
@VVGenechten what is Will Grigg?
— Suryansu (@Offendheimer) 18 juli 2016