Neymar has missed the shortlist for UEFA’s Best Player in Europe award, but Pepe will go up against Real Madrid and Portugal teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Portugal defender Pepe is included after a season in which he won the Champions League withLos Blancos before winning Euro 2016 with Portugal.
But Neymar, who scored 31 goals in 49 appearances for Barcelona as they retained their La Liga and the Copa del Rey titles, missed out. The 10-man list is compiled using votes from journalists across UEFA’s 55 member associations and includes Gareth Bale, Gianluigi Buffon, Antoine Griezmann, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Luis Suarez as well as Pepe, Ronaldo and Messi.
No Premier League players make the cut but Leicester duo Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy and West Ham’s Dimitri Payet finished just outside the top 10.
Journalists were asked to each make five selections with points attributed upon the order of the players named from 1-5. Neymar came joint 19th in a 37-man long list, tied with Eden Hazard, Andres Iniesta and Renato Sanches, while Jerome Boateng, Arturo Vidal, Luka Modric, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, N’Golo Kante finished in front of the Brazil international.
Wigan and Northern Ireland forward Will Grigg finished joint 25th with Giorgio Chiellini, Diego Godin, Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba, despite failing to play a single minute at Euro 2016.
But the 25-year-old scored 18 goals in Wigan’s final 18 games to lead them to the League One Championship, and became a cult figure thanks to the chant ‘Will Grigg’s on fire.’
The winner will be announced at the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco on Aug. 25. Messi, the current holder, is in contention to win it for a third time, while Iniesta, Franck Ribery and Ronaldo have also been victorious in recent years.
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