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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/leomessi - Alamy
A journalist from Ballon d'Or organisers France Football has explained why seven-time winner Lionel Messi was snubbed from their 30-man shortlist this year.
On Friday afternoon, the nominees for the 2022 Ballon d'Or awards were announced, with the likes of Karim Benzema, Darwin Nunez and Dusan Vlahovic featuring in the Men's category.
After the news was announced, Emmanuel Bojan, a journalist at France Football, was given the unenviable task of answering queries from fans in a Q&A session.
And when the inevitable question about Messi's absence was brought up, he explained why the new criteria was "unfavourable" to the PSG forward, who scored 17 goals in 46 games last season.
He said: "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.
"The Argentinian was part of the discussions to integrate the 30, but the new criteria for the Ballon d'Or were unfavorable to him: 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."
Bojan was also asked about France Football's decision to include Manchester United and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo in the shortlist after he scored 32 goals in 49 games for club and country last season.
"The statistics say the opposite," said Bojan when probed on the decision.
"Ronaldo became the top scorer in national football this season [117 goals]. He was extremely decisive in the Champions League group stage with four off-the-cuff goals that gave Man Utd seven points.
"In the Premier League, he has 18 goals including two hat-tricks. In total, 32 goals in 49 matches is not as many as in his best seasons but enough to be among the 30 best players in the world."
If you happened to miss the news, here is the the full list of nominees below:
Men's Ballon d'Or award nominees: Thibaut Courtois, Rafael Leao, Christopher Nkunku, Mohamed Salah, Joshua Kimmich, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Vinicius Junior, Bernardo Silva, Luis Diaz, Robert Lewandowski, Riyad Mahrez, Casemiro, Son Heung-min, Fabinho, Karim Benzema, Mike Maignan, Harry Kane, Darwin Nunez, Phil Foden, Sadio Mane, Sébastien Haller, Luka Modric, Antonio Rudiger, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Dusan Vlahovic, Virgil van Dijk, João Cancelo, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland
Women's Ballon d'Or award nominees: Selma Bacha, Fridolina Rolfo, Vivianne Miedema, Lucy Bronze, Sam Kerr, Christiane Endler, Lena Oberdorf, Kadidiatou Diani, Catarina Macario, Alexia Putellas, Alexandra Popp, Aitana Bonmati, Wendie Renard, Alex Morgan, Beth Mead, Asisat Oshoala, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Millie Bright, Trinity Rodman, Ada Hegerberg
Kopa Trophy nominees: Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Gavi (Barcelona), Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich), Nuno Mendes (PSG), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Yashin Trophy nominees: Yassine Bounou (Sevilla), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Ederson (Manchester City), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Lionel Messi misses out on ballon dor nominations since 2005.🥺🙆♂️😭 pic.twitter.com/cUNiOGnI4B— Acholi goddd (@sk_bongomin93) August 13, 2022
Let us know your thoughts on Messi missing out in the comments.