There is an argument to be made that Luka Modrić will go down as one of the most underrated footballers of this generation, but a place on the shortlist for the Player of the Year award could show that the Croatian is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
UEFA have announced the three finalists for the 2017/18 UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.
The trio were the last three standing following a vote by a jury comprising the coaches of the 80 clubs from last season's Champions League and Europa League, as well as 55 journalists representing UEFA's member associations.
His former team-mate in Madrid, Modric, was a World Cup runner-up with Croatia and the victor of the FIFA Golden Ball. Ronaldo had 15 goals in 13 UCL matches en route to a Real Madrid Champions Cup victory over Liverpool.
Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on April 21, 2018.
His frosty relationship with Real Madrid President Florentino Perez came to a head this summer, with the Portuguese moving to Juventus in a €100 million transfer.
Ronaldo has been in the final three for the award for every year since its inception in 2010, while this is the third time Messi has missed the final three.
The awards will be presented at the Champions League group stage draw ceremony, in Monaco on August 30.
Other players who could consider themselves unfortunate not to have made the list include World Cup victor Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne, with their lack of success in the Champions League again possibly a factor.