Seven-time winner of the Ballon d’Or When he was excluded from the 30-person list for this year’s best football prize, Lionel Messi paid a steep price for a disappointing first season with Paris Saint-Germain. One of the three members of England’s Euro-winning team to make the shortlist for the women’s prize is Lucy Bronze, who finished second in 2019.
With the exception of 2018, Messi, who won the award the previous year, had consistently appeared in the nominations since 2006 and in the top three spots since 2007.
But because he moved from Barcelona to Paris, Messi, 35, will not receive the prize in 2022. The Ballon d’Or no longer honours the best player over the course of a calendar year, which has hurt the Argentine superstar. Instead, it is determined by a season’s worth of data that highlights “the individual performances” and the “decisive and outstanding nature” of the nominees.
Messi was unable to imprint his brilliance on a PSG club that was starving for a Champions League championship when he left Barcelona in the summer of 2021.
The eventual winners Real Madrid forced the French champions to leave the tournament in the round of 16. Messi only managed to score 11 goals for PSG in total, and the organisers of the Ballon d’Or award, France Football magazine, were unimpressed with his often inconsistent club play. The Ballon d’Or will be presented in Paris on October 17. Neymar, a PSG teammate who scored 13 goals in 28 games this season, is also absent.
There aren’t many surprises on the remaining nominees’ list. Karim Benzema, a striker for France, is the clear favourite after helping Real Madrid win their 14th Champions League championship.
He had 15 goals after the European season was over. After Raymond Kopa (1958), Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985), Jean-Pierre Papin (1991), and Zinedine Zidane, Benzema is set to become the fifth French winner (1998). Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games for a Madrid team that also won the Liga in 2021–2022, making 46 appearances. The 34-year-old scored on Wednesday in the 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Super Cup, giving the Spanish giants 324 goals overall.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo, with 450, is ahead of him on the club’s all-time list after that moved him ahead of Raul. “He has a chance to win the Ballond’Or. Is there a question? No, for me “Carlo Ancelotti, coach of Real, remarked. Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner who plays for Manchester United, is nominated once more this year.
On the 30-man list, colleagues Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Vinicius, and ex-Chelsea player Antonio Rudiger are listed alongside Benzema. Liverpool, a defeated Champions League finalist, has the most nominations of any team with seven players.
They are Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Darwin Nunez, Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, and Fabinho. Sadio Mane has since been traded to Bayern Munich. English stars Bronze, Millie Bright, and Arsenal attacker BethMead, who won the Golden Boot at the women’s Euro, are among the 20 players on the women’s Ballon d’Or list. Selma Bacha, Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, and Wendie Renard are the four nominees from France.
The current winner Alexia Putellas, who was forced to withdraw from the Euros due to an injury, and the first winner of the award in 2018 Ada Hegerberg from Norway are also contenders.