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Surprises galore as UEFA releases Best Player in Europe shortlist

Northern Ireland v Belarus - International Friendly

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 27: Will Grigg of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring during the international friendly game between Northern Ireland and Belarus on May 27, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

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UEFA has announced the shortlist for its 2015-16 Best Player in Europe Award.

In total 37 players received votes for the award, with journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations selecting a list of top five players.

[ MORE: Four out at United? ]

The player who is selected in first receives five points, a second place vote is worth four and then so on. Three finalists will be named on Aug. 5 as a second vote of the top 10 players will now take place.

A final vote will then take place when the three finalists are selected and the winner will be announced on Aug. 25 in Monaco during the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League group stage draw.

Lionel Messi has won the award three times, while Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery and Andres Iniesta have also been honored.

Below are the 10 finalists to win the prestigious award for 2015-16:

Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus & Italy)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid & France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid & Germany)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich & Germany)
Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich & Germany)
Pepe (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona & Uruguay)

27 players didn’t make the final cut but they were ranked in order of how many points they gained in voting and there were plenty of surprises.

Don’t rub your eyes. That’s right, Will Grigg comes in at tied 25th on the list and the cult figure who plays for second-tier Wigan Atheltic in England and failed to play a single minute for Northern Ireland at EURO 2016 is above Paul Pogba and Kevin de Bruyne among other star names.

That’s the power of this song which is being sung in stadiums across the world...

11 Riyad Mahrez (Leicester & Algeria)
12 Jamie Vardy (Leicester & England)
13 Dimitri Payet (West Ham & France)
14 Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich & Germany)
15 Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich & Chile)
16 Luka Modric (Real Madrid & Croatia)
17 N’Golo Kante (Leicester & France)
18 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United & Sweden)
19= Eden Hazard (Chelsea & Belgium)
19= Andres Iniesta (Barcelona & Spain)
19= Neymar (Barcelona & Brazil)
19= Renato Sanches (Benfica/Bayern Munich & Portugal)
23 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich & Poland)
24 Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli & Argentina)
25= Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus & Italy)
25= Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid & Uruguay)
25= Will Grigg (Wigan & Northern Ireland)
25= Hugo Lloris (Tottenham & France)
25= Paul Pogba (Juventus & France)
30= Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham & Belgium)
30= Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund & Gabon)
30= Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City & Belgium)
30= Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla & France)
30= Grzegorz Krychowiak (Sevilla/Paris Saint-Germain & Poland)
30= Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain & France)
30= Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (Marseille & France)
30= Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid & Slovenia)

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