Lionel Messi absent from list of Ballon d’Or nominees for 2022
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi paid a heavy price for a disappointing first season at Paris Saint-Germain when he was dropped from the 30-man list for this year’s coveted football award.
Lucy Bronze, who came in second in 2019, is one of three members of England’s Euro-winning squad shortlisted for the women’s award.
Messi, who won the title last year, has been a fixture in the nominations since 2006 and a fixture in the top three since 2007, with the exception of 2018.
But Messi, 35, has missed out on the 2022 award after moving from Barcelona to the French capital.
A change in format has also worked against the Argentine superstar, with the Ballon d’Or no longer recognizing the best player over a calendar year.
Instead, it is based on a season record highlighting “the individual achievements” and the “decisive and impressive character” of the nominees, according to the criteria.
After leaving Barcelona in the summer of 2021, Messi was unable to stamp his brilliance on a PSG team desperate for a Champions League title.
The French champions suffered a last-16 exit at the hands of eventual winners Real Madrid.
In all, Messi scored just 11 goals for PSG with his relatively indifferent club form failing to impress France Football magazine, the organizers of the Ballon d’Or to be awarded in Paris on 17 October.
PSG team-mate Neymar is also missing after a season in which he scored 13 goals in 28 games.
The rest of the list of nominees yields few surprises.
French international striker Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favorite after being the architect of Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League title.
He finished the European campaign with 15 goals.
Benzema is likely to become the fifth French winner after Raymond Kopa (1958), Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985), Jean-Pierre Papin (1991) and Zinedine Zidane (1998).
In the 2021/2022 season, Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 appearances for a Madrid side that also won the Liga title.
His goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Super Cup took the 34-year-old to 324 goals for the Spanish giants.
That gave him an edge over Raul on the club’s all-time list, with only Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of him at 450.
“He’s in line for the Ballon d’Or. Is there any doubt? For me, no,” said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Ronaldo of Manchester United, five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, has been nominated again this year.
Benzema is joined on the 30-man list by team-mates Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, 2018 winner Luka Modric, Vinicius and former Chelsea player Antonio Rudiger.
Defeated Champions League finalists Liverpool has seven nominated players, the most of any club.
They are Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz, Fabinho, Sadio Mane, now transferred to Bayern Munich, Darwin Nunez, Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk.
There is a 20-strong list for the women’s Ballon d’Or, including English stars Bronze, Millie Bright and Arsenal forward Beth Mead who won the Golden Boot at the European Women’s Championship.
France has four nominations — Selma Bacha, Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Wendie Renard.
Defending champion Alexia Putellas, who was ruled out of the European Championship with an injury at the last minute, and Norwegian star Ada Hegerberg, the first winner of the award in 2018, are also in the running.
The 20 female nominees:
Selma BACHA (FRA, Lyon)
Aitana BONMATI (ESP, FC Barcelona)
Millie BRIGHT (ANG, Chelsea)
Lucy BRONZE (ANG, Manchester City from FC Barcelona)
Kadidiatou DIANI (FRA, PSG)
Christiane ENDLER (CHL, Lyon)
Ada HEGERBERG (NOR, Lyon)
Marie Antoinette KATOTO (FRA, PSG)
Sam KERR (AUS, Chelsea)
Catarina MACARIO (USA, Lyon)
Beth MEAD (ANG, Arsenal)
Vivianne MIEDEMA (HOL, Arsenal)
Alex MORGAN (USA, Pride d’Orlando at Wave de San Diego)
Lena OBERDORF (ALL, VfL Wolfsburg)
Asisat OSHOALA (NGA, FC Barcelona)
Alexandra POPP (ALL, VfL Wolfsburg)
Alexia PUTELLAS (ESP, FC Barcelona)
Wendie RENARD (FRA, Lyon)
Trinity RODMAN (USA, Spirit de Washington)
Fridolina ROLFÖ (SUE, FC Barcelona)
The 30 male nominees:
Trent ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (ANG, Liverpool)
Karim BENZEMA (FRA, Real Madrid)
Joao CANCELO (POR, Manchester City)
CASEMIRO (BRE, Real Madrid)
Thibaut COURTOIS (BEL, Real Madrid)
CRISTIANO RONALDO (POR, Manchester United)
Kevin DE BRUYNE (BEL, Manchester City)
Luis DIAZ (COL, FC Porto from Liverpool)
FABINHO (BRE, Liverpool)
Phil FODEN (ANG, Manchester City)
Erling HAALAND (NOR, Borussia Dortmund at Manchester City)
Sebastien HALLER (CIV, Ajax at Borussia Dortmund)
Harry KANE (ANG, Tottenham)
Joshua KIMMICH (ALL, Bayern Munich)
Rafael LEAO (POR, AC Milan)
Robert LEWANDOWSKI (POL, Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona)
Riyadh MAHREZ (ALG, Manchester City)
Mike MAIGNAN (FRA, AC Milan)
Sadio MANE (SEN, Liverpool at Bayern Munich)
Kylian MBAPPE (FRA, Paris-SG)
Luka MODRIC (CRO, Real Madrid)
Christopher NKUNKU (FRA, RB Leipzig)
Darwin NUEZ (URU, Benfica from Liverpool)
Antonio RÜDIGER (ALL, Chelsea at Real Madrid)
Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool)
Bernardo Silva (POR, Manchester City)
SON Heung-min (CDS, Tottenham)
Virgil VAN DYK (HOL, Liverpool)
VINICIUS JUNIOR (BRE, Real Madrid)
Dusan VLAHOVIC (SER, Fiorentina at Juventus)
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)