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Lionel Messi may have claimed his seventh Ballon d’Or in November but the Paris Saint-Germain star has not done enough to make L’Equipe’s Team of the Year for 2021.
Messi has been overlooked for the team, which was released by the French publication on Tuesday, following his slow start to life at the Parc des Princes.
The 34-year-old has scored just once in Ligue 1 since moving to PSG from Barcelona in August, although he has managed five goals in as many games in the Champions League.
Messi’s great rival, Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, also fails to make the team – despite scoring 14 goals in 22 games since returning to Old Trafford in August.
Instead, L’Equipe has named Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski as their strikers in a 4-4-2 formation.
Lewandowski was named as runner-up to Messi in the 2021 Ballon d’Or standings after missing out on the award in 2020, while Benzema came fourth.
Lewandowski has scored an incredible 30 goals in 25 games so far this season, while Benzema has managed 20 in 24 appearances.
Aside from the strikers, the Team of the Year is dominated by the Premier League - with all four midfielders playing their club football in England.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is named on the right of the midfield, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne perhaps a surprise inclusion on the left given his injury struggles last year.
Chelsea duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are paired in the centre of midfield after playing a key role in the club’s Champions League triumph last season.
In the back four, Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is named at right-back, with AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez featuring on the left.
Manchester City defender Ruben Dias and Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos form a formidable centre-back pairing.
Meanwhile, another Chelsea player – Edouard Mendy – is named as goalkeeper after an impressive start to his career at Stamford Bridge.
Apart from Messi and Ronaldo, several other high-profile players miss out on the place in the side, including the likes of PSG striker Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland.
Do you agree with L’Equipe’s selections? Let us know!
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Football, Premier League, Ligue 1, La Liga, Bundesliga, Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Karim Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah, Jorginho, NGolo Kante, Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Edouard Mendy
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