The UEFA Player of the Year Award is an annual honour which is given to the best player in Europe based on their previous season’s performance for both club and the national team.
As quoted by the UEFA, the award "recognises the best player, irrespective of his nationality, playing for a football club within the territory of a UEFA member association during the previous season."
First presented in 2011, the Player of the Year award replaced the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year title which ran from 1998 to 2010.
During the first six years of the UEFA Player of the Year Award, the voting format was similar to that of the Ballon d’Or, meaning that it was based purely on the judgement of journalists.
Former Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was the first-ever recipient of the award in 2011 while Cristiano Ronaldo remains the only player to win it a record three times (2014, 2016, 2017). Furthermore, the Portugal captain has finished inside the top three in nine of the past 11 editions.
Karim Benzema is the current UEFA Men's Player of the Year and he became the first French player after Franck Ribery (2012-13) to win the award.
Since its inception, players from Spain’s La Liga have won the honour the most times (8). They are followed by England and Germany who have had two representatives in the past.
Meanwhile, two years after the rebranding of the UEFA Player of the Year honour, the organising committee also introduced the same award for female footballers. The criteria and voting system were kept the same for the UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award.
Nadine Angerer of Germany won the first edition in 2013 while Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas is the current recipient of the award. She is the only player to win the award twice in a row.
UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award winners list
|2012-13||Franck Ribery||Bayern Munich|
|2013-14||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|2015-16||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|2016-17||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid|
|2017-18||Luka Modric||Real Madrid|
|2018-19||Virgil van Dijk||Liverpool|
|2019-20||Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich|
|2021-22||Karim Benzema||Real Madrid|
UEFA Women's Player of the Year Award winners list
Featured photo: AFP / OZAN KOSE