Following an unimpressive debut season with Paris Saint-Germain, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has been left out of the 30-person list for this year’s edition of the award.
The miss-out comes a season after his record transfer move from the Spanish side Barcelona to Paris Saint Germaine in France.
Messi only scored 11 goals in his debut season for PSG, failing to make a strong case to be named to the 30-man list of footballers nominated for the prestigious award.
Messi was unable to imprint his brilliance on a PSG squad that was in desperate need of a Champions League victory after departing Barcelona in the summer of 2021.
Since 2006, Messi has consistently been nominated and, with the exception of 2018, has consistently been in the top three. He won the award last year.
Neymar Jnr another world-class player also failed to make the list of players considered worthy to be listed as contenders for the award.
With only 13 goals in 2 matches, Neymar also failed to convince organizers with his performance at the just concluded league season.
However, Karim Benzema, a striker for France, has been tipped to win the most prestigious award following the role he played in Real Madrid’s victory in the Champions League last season.
If Benzema wins the prestigious prize, he will join Raymond Kopa (1958), Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985), Jean-Pierre Papin (1991), and Zinedine Zidane (1998), as the fifth French winner of the award.
Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games for a Madrid team that also won the Liga in 2021–2022, making 46 appearances. He also scored in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt to help Real Madrid lift the European Super Cup.
Despite Manchester United’s poor performance in the previous season, out-of-favor striker Cristiano Ronaldo also made the list.
Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, 2018 winner Luka Modric, Vinicius, and ex-Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger are teammates of Benzema also included on the 30-man roster.
The most of any club, though, is seven nominees from Liverpool. They are Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Sadio Mane, Fabinho, Luis Diaz, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Sadio Mane, who has subsequently moved to Bayern Munich.