Lionel Messi was not included in the 30 player Ballon D’or shortlist for the first time in 17 years. The Argentine who signed for Paris Saint Germain last summer from FC Barcelona over he club’s financial complications, has been nominated every single time since 2006 and had won the award from France Football seven times, more than any other player.
The Argentine had a forgetful first season away from Barcelona as he scored only 11 goals and registered 14 assists with PSG in the 2021/22 season, winning only the Ligue 1 title with a star studded Paris lineup.
For the national team, Messi scored 7 goals across 15 appearances for Argentina and won the Finalissima against Italy at the Wembley Stadium in June. His second title with the national side less than a year after winning the Copa America title.
Another big name to miss out on the nomination was Messi’s PSG teammate Neymar Jr. On the other hand, Messi’s close rival in world football and five time Ballon D’or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo made it to the final 30.
Among those in the shortlist, Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema looks favorite to win the individual prize following a La Liga and Champions League winning season. The 34-year-old striker finished the 2021-22 campaign as LaLiga top scorer with a total of 27 goals.
Men’s Shortlist: Thibaut Courtois, Rafael Leao, Christopher Nkunku, Mohamed Salah, Joshua Kimmich, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Vinicius Junior, Bernardo Silva, Luis Diaz, Robert Lewandowski, Riyad Mahrez, Casemiro, Heung-Min Son, Fabinho, Karim Benzema, Mike Maignan, Harry Kane, Darwin Nunez, Phil Foden, Sadio Mane, Sebastien Haller, Luka Modric, Antonio Rudiger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Dusan Vlahovic, Virgil van Dijk, Joao Cancelo, Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.