Football fans were left in shock after Paris Saint Germain forward Lionel Messi wasn’t shortlisted for Ballon d’Or contenders.
The Ballon d’Or organizers released a 30-men list of the contenders and surprisingly Lionel Messi was snubbed, with his 37-year-old ‘rival’ Cristiano Ronaldo making it to the list.
Lionel Messi is the current holder of this prestigious men’s award and this time many speculate that Karim Benzema will walk away with the gong.
However, when quizzed on why Messi was snubbed on the released list, organizers of the award pinpointed Messi’s last season performance.
Last season was a nightmare and one of Messi’s worst, who scored only 11 goals across all competitions.
“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,” said Emmanuel Bojan explaining why Messi was snubbed.
“The Argentinian was part of the discussions to integrate the 30, but the new criteria for the Ballon d’Or were unfavorable to him: the disappearance of the criterion of a player’s entire career, and new periodicity, modeled 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.”
Men’s Ballon d’Or shortlist:
Thibaut Courtois, Rafael Leao, Christopher Nkunku, Mohamed Salah, Joshua Kimmich, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Vinicius Junior, Bernardo Silva, Luis Diaz, Robert Lewandowski, Riyad Mahrez, Casemiro, Heung-Min Son, Fabinho, Karim Benzema, Mike Maignan, Harry Kane, Darwin Nunez, Phil Foden, Sadio Mane, Sebastien Haller, Luka Modric, Antonio Rudiger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Dusan Vlahovic, Virgil van Dijk, Joao Cancelo, Kylian Mbappe, and Erling Haaland.