IQ icon

Who should get UEFA’s Player of the Year Award 2018: Salah, Ronaldo or Modric?

29 August 2018
Every season, during the group stage draw for the upcoming Champions League, European football association UEFA names their Player of the Year. This time, UEFA nominated the following three players for this prestigious award: Mohamed Salah, Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo. In this article Remiqz analyses which player should get the award.

Individual performance and player ranking

Remiqz developed an individual player index for all professional football players, called the Euro Player Index (EPI). Taking the strength of the teams and the competition into account, the EPI gives an objective quantification of the player’s influence on the result of their team, and thus their ability. If we look at the three nominees of the past season, Ronaldo has the highest EPI (5788), followed by Salah (5171) and Modric (4743).

Since the award is given based on performances in the 2017-18 season, it is useful to look at the EPI development of the past season. We see that Ronaldo declined and went from 6058 to 5788. Modric also took a dent in his EPI and went from 4820 to 4743. Mo Salah is the big winner here, taking his EPI from 4132 to 5171.

Modric is a central midfielder, who won’t be judged on goals and assists, but Ronaldo and Salah are attackers. Ronaldo scored a whopping 1.00 goal a game in 2017/18 and beats Salah’s 0.85 goals per game in that category. Salah did have more assists though, assisting 0.3 times per game, while Ronaldo is at 0.17. Luka Modric gave 0.18 assists per game in 2017-18.

Nominees UEFA Player of the Year 2018 compared

Club performances

UEFA tends to value their own competition somewhat more when this individual prize is awarded. For instance, the past six seasons the award has gone to a player that also won the Champions League that season. All three players played in the Champions League final, where none of them really could affect the match. Ronaldo did not score and had an overall very average night of football, while Salah had to leave the pitch with an injury after 30 minutes. Modric played all 90 minutes in his usual calm demeanour as a central midfielder.

The emphasis on Champions League performances for this award becomes even clearer if we look at the competition results from Real Madrid and Liverpool. Real Madrid finished third in the past La Liga season, being closer to fourth-placed Valencia than runners-up Atlético Madrid. Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League.

Focusing on club football is good news for Salah and Ronaldo, who both had a forgettable FIFA World Cup in Russia, and bad news for Modric, who led his country to their first ever final.

And the winner is…

Even though Mo Salah had a wonderful individual season, Liverpool’s club performances probably are not good enough to get him this award. This leaves us with Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric. It remains to be seen whether the UEFA values the FIFA World Cup at all, and this could be crucial in the final decision for UEFA’s Player of the Year. Since Cristiano Ronaldo won the last two UEFA Player of the Year awards already and wasn’t as influential in this Champions League campaign as he has been, that leaves a spot open for Modric.

About Remiqz:

Remiqz’ goal is to help the decision-making process within football clubs by offering objective input on the added value of their players. Working with Remiqz allows clubs to maximize their sporting quality within the boundaries of their financial possibilities. We help clubs by collectively setting realistic goals for the first team, mapping the criteria the squad needs to satisfy in terms of both quantity and quality of the players, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current squad and defining the white spots.