Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric had a brilliant 2017-18 season and now find themselves in a three horse race to win the award for the best footballer on the planet.
'The Best' awards take place on 24th September in London and ahead of the event, FIFA's official website has revealed what some of the greatest sporting personalities have said about the trio...
3. Mohamed Salah
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah has been a revelation since his arrival in the Premier League. The Egyptian hero went on to score 44 goals in 52 games throughout the 2017/18 season. Not only that, he assisted a further 16 goals for his teammates as he led Liverpool to the Champions League final.
Here's what the biggest footballing personalities said about Salah:
Brazilian legend Ronaldo: "I love him. I heard statements saying that I was his inspiration, and this excited me. He has tremendous ability. He’s similar to Messi. He’s left-footed, agile, fast, keeps the ball close to his feet, has hunger for goals."
2002 World Cup winner Rivaldo: "He’s a great player. He’s a game changer. He has to maintain it like Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi have for ten years – he’s very close to their level now."
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard (after Liverpool's win against Roma last season): "He's in the form of his life. Without a shadow of doubt he's the best player on the planet right now."
Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero: "Salah is an extraordinary player. He presents a steady and powerful performance with outstanding skills that qualify him to be the best player in the world within a few months."
Chelsea great Didier Drogba: "He’s unpredictable. He can dribble you with his left foot. He’s fast. He became strong. He can score goals. He’s becoming a boss."
2. Luka Modric
2017/18's UEFA player of the year Luka Modric had the greatest season of his career and was equally rewarded for the same.
Here's what the footballing world said about Modric:
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos:
"I think Modric deserves to win The Best. It would be really deserved. I would be as happy if he wins it as I would if they gave it to me."
Brazilian legend Zico:
"For me, the most important thing is the World Cup, so for this I think Modric had the best campaign. Modric was really good in the World Cup, but he was also really good in the Champions League and he dominated the final against Gremio. He’s a good passer, has a good touch, can strike the ball well and is gutsy. What sets him apart is his vision and his ability to get out of impossible situations with the ball."
Liverpool great Steven Gerrard:
"Just forget all that for just a minute about this Madrid team: what about Luka Modric’s performance today? Is he the best midfield player in the world right now? That performance today was stunning. He receives the ball in tight areas, he gets pressed by three or four people, he’s so calm, collected, cool under pressure. It was a joy to watch today."
One of Croatia's greatest ever players, Robert Prosinecki:
"There are no parameters under which Luka does not deserve the title of the best [Croatian footballer] in history."
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo did move to Juventus this summer. The Portuguese great won his fifth Champions League trophy last season and also became the highest goalscorer in the competition's history.
Ronaldo's record breaking stint with Real Madrid as well as a European trophy to show for the last three consecutive seasons made him a deserved candidate in the list for the Best awards.
Here's what sporting personalities said about Ronaldo:
Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane:
On being asked in one of his interviews if he thinks Ronaldo is better than him in his prime, Zidane said, "I was definitely better! (laughs) You know what I think: Cristiano is miles better, but I didn’t have a bad career either. Ronaldo is the best player of his generation – by a long way."
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand:
In an interview with the Sun, Ferdinand hailed Ronaldo as he said, "Great skill gets you so far, but there have been many players like that. Think of Rivaldo, Figo, the Brazilian Ronaldo, Ronaldinho."
He continued, "They were phenomenal, but they were contesting to be the best in the world for only two or three years. Cristiano has been in the discussion every year for a decade. He gets 50 goals a season time and again. Having Lionel Messi around at the same time means he’s been pushed to even greater heights. Muhammad Ali needed Joe Frazier, Federer needed Nadal, Larry Bird needed Magic Johnson. You never spoke about one without mentioning the other."
Brazilian legend Ronaldo:
Speaking at a charity event, legendary Ronaldo was asked about Cristiano and he stated, "He has every right to feel he is [the greatest footballer of all time]. He’s achieved fantastic things. In terms of statistics, he really is above the great legends of world football."
Argentinian great Diego Maradona:
Widely regarded as the greatest player in the history of football, the iconic Diego Maradona also hailed Cristiano as one of the greats. He said, "He’s (Ronaldo is) a wonderful player. When the team needs him, he shows up. After 'El Flaco' Cruyff, there haven’t been many players with that quality."
Famous Indian cricketer Virat Kohli:
In one of his Instagram posts after witnessing one of Ronaldo's epic performances, Indian cricketer Virat Kohli said on Instagram, "Self belief, determination, courage and pure passion. The G.O.A.T. @cristiano."