Lionel Messi misses out on Ballon d'Or nomination: Here's why
Lionel Messi has missed out on the 2022 Ballon d'Or nomination. Messi has been left off the 30-man list of Ballon d'Or nominees for the first time since 2005. The contenders were announced by France Football on Friday. Karim Benzema is expected to win the coveted prize, capping off a brilliant season. Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo has also been nominated. Here's more.
- Messi's run of 15 consecutive nominations, featuring seven wins, came to an end.
- He had a poor first season at PSG given his standards, following a shock move from Barcelona last year.
- The 35-year-old scored just 11 goals in all competitions last season and made 14 assists. PSG won the Ligue 1 trophy but it wasn't enough.
- Messi's omission isn't a major surprise given his returns.
In 2021, Messi claimed a seventh Ballon d'Or award. The Argentine superstar netted 38 goals in the 2020-21 season, including the most in La Liga (30). He helped Barca win the Copa del Rey. Messi saw Argentina win the Copa America honor. He bagged the Player of the Tournament and the Golden Boot at the Copa America.
The Ballon d'Or award will see a major change. Last year, Messi's win raised plenty of eyebrows. With Robert Lewandowski being snubbed, there were questions asked. France Football has now decided that the period will fall in line with the main European season rather than entire calendar year. The 2022 award will only take into account the performances of footballers during the 2021-22 campaign.
Real forward Karim Benzema is the favorite to win his maiden Ballon d'Or. In 56 games for club and country, Benzema netted 50 goals and made 16 assists. He helped Real win the Spanish league, Spanish Super Cup, and Champions League. He also helped France win the UEFA Nations League. Benzema won the Pichichi award, UCL Player of the Season, and UCL Golden Boot.
Robert Lewandowski scored 57 goals for club and country in 2021-22. He made 10 assists. He won the Bundesliga and DFL Super-Cup. Lewy won the European Golden Shoe and was the top scorer in Bundesliga. Sadio Mane scored 33 goals and clocked 4 assists. He won the FA Cup, League Cup, and AFCON. Mane was adjudged African Footballer of the Year.
For the 17th time in a row, Cristiano Ronaldo has been shortlisted for the Ballon d'Or. Despite a difficult season with Manchester United, the five-time winner broke the record of scoring most international goals. He was Man United's top-scorer as well (24).