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2022 Ballon d’Or nominees: Messi dropped, Benzema, Ronaldo in

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PSG’s Lionel Messi was left off the 30-man list for this year’s nominees for the coveted Ballon d’Or winner football awards.

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner had been an ever-present amongst the nominations since 2006 and a regular feature in the top three since 2007 with the exception of 2018.

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema gearing up for the Ballon d’Or

A change in the format has also worked against Messi with the Ballon d’Or no longer acknowledging the best player over a calendar year.

Instead, it is based on a season’s record highlighting “the individual performances” 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 genius on a PSG team desperate for a Champions League title.

Messi seriously disappointed after leaving Barcelona in the summer of 2021

Messi’s tally of 11 goals for PSG was his lowest since the 2005/06 season, while his relatively indifferent club form failed to impress France Football magazine, the organisers of the Ballon d’Or which will be awarded in Paris on October 17.

PSG teammate Neymar also misses out after a season where he scored 13 goals in 28 matches.

French international striker Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favourite after being the architect of Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League title as well as guiding them to the Spanish league title.

Ronaldo in the race for yet another Ballon d’Or

He finished the European campaign with 15 goals with an overall record of 44 goals in 46 matches.

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).

Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, is nominated again this year. The Portugal striker scored 24 goals across competitions in what was a largely disappointing campaign for his club Manchester United.

Benzema is joined on the 30-man list by Real Madrid teammates Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, 2018 winner Luka Modric, Vinicius Jr and Antonio Rudiger, who moved to the Bernabeu this summer from Chelsea.

Asisat Oshoala crossing all the Ts and dotting all the Is for the women’s Ballon d’Or

There is a 20-strong list for the women’s Ballon d’Or including Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala and English stars Bronze, Millie Bright and Arsenal forward Beth Mead who won the Golden Boot at the women’s Euro 2022.

See a full list of the 20 female and 30 male Ballon d’Or nominees.

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