Lionel Messi has been left off a Ballon d’Or for the first time since 2005, with the seven-time former winner not nominated for the 2022 honour.
The 2022 shortlist, revealed by France Football on Friday, featured 30 names. But Messi’s underwhelming first season with Paris Saint-Germain was not enough to get him on the list.
The 35-year-old moved from Barcelona to PSG last summer when the Catalans were unable to register his agreed new contract because of well publicised financial problems. Although still prolific with assists, he managed only 11 goals in all competitions – just six in Ligue 1.
After 13 consecutive campaigns of scoring at least 30 goals for Barcelona, it was Messi’s lowest single season goal tally since 2005/06, which was his first full year with the Barça first team.
Excluding 2020 when there was no award because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the only Ballon d’Or other than 2022 that Messi hasn’t been nominated for is 2005 when he had not long turned 18 and been a first-team player for just a matter of months.
As well as his disappointing club form, Messi’s chances of a nomination in 2022 were also hurt by a lack of major football played at international level. His most recent win in 2021 had been largely underpinned by his role in Argentina’s Copa America success.
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Messi remains the Ballon d’Or award’s record winner. His triumphs have come in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021. His 2011 gong equalled the previous all-time record of three wins jointly held by Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten, and he has long since surpassed it.
Long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who is nominated in 2022, has won five times.