Pep Guardiola Questions Best FIFA Men's Player Shortlist After Man City Absence

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2019

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - JULY 27: Pep Guardiola,coach of Manchester City looks on after the preseason friendly match between Yokohama F.Marinos and Manchester City at Nissan Stadium on July 27, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images)
Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has questioned the 10-man shortlist FIFA revealed for its Best Men's Player award after none of his players were included.

World football's governing body announced the players in contention for the prize recently, with Liverpool trio Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane among the nominees. The only other Premier League player in contention is Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's FA Community Shield showdown with Liverpool, Guardiola said he was surprised that none of his players were recognised, per BBC Sport:

"Maybe we have to win five or six or get 250 points to be considered next season. I don't think there is one player who had a better season than Bernardo Silva last season, even winning [the Nations League] with Portugal.

"These awards are normally when you win the Champions League. We were in the last stages and the other competitions do not count, are not important."

Here's more of what Guardiola had to say:

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

🏆 Premier League 🏆 FA Cup 🏆 Carabao Cup Despite winning everything they could in England, no Man City players were nominated for FIFA's best male footballer of the year And Pep Guardiola is not too surprised... https://t.co/IsNlxeeDGm

This is the list of players who will battle for the Best Men's Player gong, which was won by Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric a year ago:

FIFA.com @FIFAcom

🚨 Ready? 🚨 #TheBest Men's Player nominees: 🇵🇹@Cristiano 🇳🇱@DeJongFrenkie21 🇳🇱 Matthijs de Ligt 🇧🇪@hazardeden10 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿@HKane 🇸🇳 Sadio Mane 🇫🇷@KMbappe 🇦🇷 Lionel Messi 🇪🇬@MoSalah 🇳🇱@VirgilvDijk Voting NOW OPEN 👇 https://t.co/nw6p9KIcc6

While there were no City players in the shortlist, in the men's coach category, Guardiola has been included, along with Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino.

Guardiola also commented on the fact that no City player has been crowned PFA Player of the Year despite the team being Premier League champions in four of the past eight seasons.

"In eight years, winning four times the Premier League is quite good," he said. "And never one player—not David [Silva], not Vincent [Kompany], not Yaya [Toure]—won, not even suggested. Huge respect for Mohamed Salah, but Kevin De Bruyne that season when we made 100 points [in 2017-18] was above and beyond the normal situations."

City enjoyed a remarkable 2018-19, as they won the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup. There were a number of key contributors to their success, although Silva was frequently the standout performer.

Squawka Football provided the numbers behind his exceptional season for City and Portugal:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Bernardo Silva's 2018-19 campaign for club & country by numbers: • 59 games • 15 assists • 14 goals • 5 trophies Incredible season, even better player. https://t.co/MIoxQ6x17K

Per Squawka News, Guardiola isn't the only coach who picked up on the Portuguese's omission from the shortlist:

Squawka News @SquawkaNews

Portugal manager Fernando Santos on Bernardo Silva's exclusion from the Best Men's player shortlist: "In that lot of 10 it is abnormal that Bernardo Silva is not there. He is one of those players who did everything, in the club and the national team, won the League of Nations." https://t.co/vAsHKkmEly

City have been the dominant force in English football for the past couple of campaigns, winning back-to-back Premier League titles and accumulating a staggering 198 points over the two seasons. With that in mind, it's not a shock Guardiola is irked by the lack of recognition for some of his players.

The one area where the team will be keen to improve next term is in the UEFA Champions League, as City have not made it beyond the quarter-finals under Guardiola. If they can add European glory to their domestic stranglehold, then surely their best players won't be overlooked for these accolades.