New Delhi: Barcelona forward Lionel Messi was the surprise omission in the three-man shortlisted for the LFP's 'Best Striker of the 2013/2014' award which was revealed on Friday.
Despite missing over two months of last season with a hamstring problem, the 27-year-old scored an impressive 36 goals in all competitions for the Catalan giants, but that wasn't enough for him to be shortlisted for the award. The decision to leave Messi out in the cold is a bit startling.
Reigning Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, former Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa and Real Sociedad starlet Carlos Vela were nominated for the award.
Atletico Madrid pipped Barcelona for the Liga title and Diego Costa was the chief contributor for manager Diego Simeone's side. Costa, who joined Chelsea for £32million earlier this summer, scored 27 goals in 35 games as Atletico had won La Liga for the first time in 18 years. They also reached the finals of the UEFA Champions League where they lost to rivals Real Madrid.
Elsewhere, there were no real surprises with Ronaldo's inclusion, as the golden boot winner notched 48 goals in all competitions for Real last season. It is the fourth year in a row the Portuguese star has scored over 30 goals in a season. The Portuguese international helped his side win the Champions League. He also recorded the highest number of goals scored in a single season (17) in the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Carlos Vela got shortlisted despite not scoring as many goals as his other two competitors for the award. However, Vela played a pivotal role in keeping Real Sociedad in European contention, scoring 16 goals in 37 matches for Sociedad. The 25-year-old has impressed during his stint in Spain.
The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 27.