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Aug 28, 2014

Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben revels in UEFA award nomination

The ESPN FC panel discuss the three nominees for best player in Europe and talk surprising omissions from the list.

Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben insists he is proud just to be nominated for the UEFA Best Player in Europe award ahead of the announcement of its winner on Thursday.

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Robben, 30, has made the final three-man short list ahead of club teammate Manuel Neuer and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Dutchman excelled as Bayern lifted a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in Pep Guardiola's first season, scoring 19 goals and creating a further 18.

He could be the second player from the Bavarians to win the award in as many years, after Franck Ribery picked up the 2013 prize.

World Cup-winning goalkeeper Neuer and Ronaldo, who netted a record 17 goals during Los Blancos' run to Champions League glory last season, represent stiff competition, but the former Chelsea and Real Madrid winger insists he is happy to be among the top three whether he wins or not.

"Just to make the short list is a great acknowledgement for my performance not only this year, but also over the last 18 months," Robben told kicker.

"I am proud to be among the best three players in Europe. That's a great compliment. I was far away from that two years ago. We lost the Champions League final at home [against Chelsea], and I missed a penalty.

Arjen Robben will battle teammate Manuel Neuer for the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.

"The criticism that followed, the match between Bayern and the Netherlands, where I got booed, the bad European Championship with the Netherlands. That was a really difficult time."

"But I fought back, and never gave up. I am back, and stronger than ever before. It's just something I am incredibly proud of."

Robben, who also scored three goals and set up three more as Netherlands finished third at the World Cup, admitted that he might be a bit nervous ahead of the award ceremony.

"It's about judging that time, and of course I would love to win it. To pick up that accolade would be the reward for the last years," he said. "But life will go on should it not work out. I am a positive guy."

Fifty-four journalists from all over Europe will vote for the UEFA Best Player in Europe award on Thursday, with Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp offering some advice for those voting: "From that combo I'd take Arjen Robben."

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