Ballon d'Or nominees: Messi misses out, Benzema and Ronaldo in, three Lionesses make cut

Messi endured a largely underwhelming season in France after switching from Barcelona last summer

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The name of seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi was left off the 30-man list for this year's coveted football award.

Lucy Bronze, who was runner-up in 2019, is one of three members of England's Euro-winning squad to be short-listed for the women's prize.

Despite winning the Ligue 1 title in his first season at Paris Saint-Germain, Messi endured a largely underwhelming season in France after switching from Barcelona last summer.

The Argentina forward, 35, 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.

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.

The French champions suffered a last-16 exit at the hands of eventual winners Real Madrid despite holding a 2-0 aggregate lead with less than half-hour left in the tie.

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.

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).

His goal in Wednesday's 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Super Cup took the 34-year-old to second in the all-time charts for the Spanish giants on 324 goals. Only Cristiano Ronaldo is in front of him with 450.

"He's in line for the Ballon d'Or. Is there any doubt? For me, no," said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Manchester United's 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.

Beaten Champions League finalists Liverpool have seven players nominated, the most of any club.

They are Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz, who joined the club in January from Porto, Fabinho, Sadio Mane, since transferred to Bayern Munich, Darwin Nunez, who spent last season at Benfica, Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk.

Manchester City's new £55 million signing Erling Haaland is one of five players nominated for the reigning Premier League champions alongside Joao Cancelo, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva.

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

France have four nominations: Selma Bacha, Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Wendie Renard.

Last year's winner Alexia Putellas, who was ruled out of the Euros with a last minute injury, and Norwegian star Ada Hegerberg, the first winner of the prize in 2018, are also in the running.

The 20 female nominees:

Selma Bacha (FRA, Lyon)

Aitana Bonmati (ESP, Barcelona)

Millie Bright (ENG, Chelsea)

Lucy Bronze (ENG Manchester City and Barcelona)

Kadidiatou Diani (FRA, PSG)

Christiane Endler (CHL, Lyon)

Ada Hegerberg (NOR, Lyon)

Marie-Antoinette Katoto (FRA, PSG)

Sam Kerr (AUS, Chelsea)

Catarina Macario (USA, Lyon)

Beth Mead (ENG, Arsenal)

Vivianne Miedema (HOL, Arsenal)

Alex Morgan (USA, Orlando Pride and San Diego Wave)

Lena Oberdorf (GER, Wolfsburg)

Asisat Oshoala (NGA, Barcelona)

Alexandra Popp (GER, Wolfsburg)

Alexia Putellas (ESP, Barcelona)

Wendie Renard (FRA, Lyon)

Trinity Rodman (USA, Spirit Washington Spirit)

Fridolina Rolfo (SWE, Barcelona)

The 30 male nominees:

Trent Alexander-Arnold (ENG, Liverpool)

Karim Benzema (FRA, Real Madrid)

Joao Cancelo (POR, Manchester City)

Casemiro (BRA, Real Madrid)

Thibaut Courtois (BEL, Real Madrid)

Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United)

Kevin de Bruyne (BEL, Manchester City)

Luis Diaz (COL, Porto and Liverpool)

Fabinho (BRA, Liverpool)

Phil Foden (ENG, Manchester City)

Erling Haaland (NOR, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City)

Sébastien Haller (CIV, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund)

Harry Kane (ENG, Tottenham)

Joshua Kimmich (GER, Bayern Munich)

Rafael Leao (POR, AC Milan)

Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern Munich and Barcelona)

Riyad Mahrez (ALG, Manchester City)

Mike Maignan (FRA, AC Milan)

Sadio Mane (SEN, Liverpool and Bayern Munich)

Kylian Mbappe (FRA, PSG)

Luka Modric (CRO, Real Madrid)

Christopher Nkunku (FRA, RB Leipzig)

Darwin Nunez (URU, Benfica and Liverpool)

Antonio Rudiger (GER, Chelsea and Real Madrid)

Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool)

Bernardo Silva (POR, Manchester City)

Son Heung-min (KOR, Tottenham)

Virgil van Dijk (HOL, Liverpool)

Vinicius Jr (BRA, Real Madrid)

Dusan Vlahovic (SER, Fiorentina and Juventus)

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Updated: August 13, 2022, 5:51 AM
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