France Football Magazine have revealed the shortlisted players for the 2022 Ballon d’Or. And the most recent, and most-awarded player of all-time, Lionel Messi, has been excluded from the 30-man shortlist.
Alongside the seven-time winner, Neymar has also been excluded from the list of nominees for the award. Both wingers have had a difficult season in France, which hasn’t been able to fetch them a nomination, especially due to the change in rules.
Ballon d’Or 2022: Messi and Neymar left out
“Inevitably, Lionel Messi, with his 15 appearances in a row since 2006, his seven Ballon d’Or victories, his title holder status, weighs very heavily when it comes to the final choice,” France Football’s deputy editor-in-chief Emmanuel Bojan explained.
“The Argentinian was part of the discussions to integrate the 30, but the new criteria for the Ballon d’Or were unfavourable to him: disappearance of the criterion of a player’s entire career, and new periodicity, modelled on a season of football and no longer over a calendar year, which does not make it possible to integrate the Copa America of July 11, 2021.
“And then, it must be admitted that his first season in Paris was very disappointing both in terms of the visual impression and the statistics.”
The 30-man shortlist seems quite academic at this point, given the overwhelming support for Karim Benzema to win the award. The Real Madrid number 9 helped his team to a 14th Champions League title, and a 35th La Liga title, while finishing as the top scorer in both competitions.