Messi, Neymar, Williamson: 10 biggest 2022 Ballon d'Or snubs

Ballon d'Or nominees

This year’s Ballon d’Or shortlists have been revealed and, as ever, plenty of world-class players have been snubbed of a nomination. 

The Ballon d’Or trophies are annual football awards that seek to honour the best player in the world in both men’s and women’s football. 

In recent years, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the men’s prize, while the women’s award is still in its infancy. 

Yet, while Ronaldo did make the shortlist this year, there is no room for seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.

As well as Messi, there were a number of other stars who enjoyed stellar seasons that have failed to be recognised by France Football. 

Therefore, we at GiveMeSport have taken it upon ourselves to list the 15 biggest snubs from across the men’s and women’s categories. 

It’s worth noting this list is purely subjective and there may well be other players who could easily have earned a nomination. 

But anyway, check out our list of players ignored for this year’s awards: 

Lionel Messi – PSG/Argentina

While Messi may be past his prime, he’s still an absolutely lethal striker and his exclusion is criminal. 

The PSG star finished as the top assister in Ligue 1 last year and formed a formidable partnership with French forward Kylian Mbappe. 

He may well have won seven Ballon d’Or’s already, but it’s still unfair to snub him from this shortlist. 

Lionel Messi edges closer to becoming the player with the most trophies in football history

Leah Williamson – Arsenal/England 

Given the Arsenal star captained England to their first ever major silverware at Euro 2022 last month, you’d think she would’ve done enough to earn a nomination. 

Williamson was part of a defence that conceded just two goals all tournament and her highlights from the final are seriously impressive. 

Leah Williamson t-shirt


Neymar – PSG/Brazil

The Brazilian star was injured for part of the season, but he still managed 19 goal contributions in 22 matches. 

Surely, there’s no denying he’s still among the best 30 players on the planet?


Keira Walsh – Man City/England

If winning Player of the Match in a major tournament final doesn’t get you a Ballon d’Or nomination, we’re not sure what will do? 

Walsh was a commanding presence for England throughout the Euros and her exclusion from the shortlist has not gone down well with some of her teammates. 

“No Keira Walsh, I don’t understand,” tweeted Man City and England goalkeeper, Ellie Roebuck. 

Rodri – Man City/ Spain 

Given Rodri is so often compared with Fabinho, it seems desperately unfair that one is nominated and not the other. 

Liverpool’s holding-midfielder was deservedly included, but somehow, Man City’s rock in the centre of the park has been left out. 

Rodri celebrates

Lina Magull – Bayern Munich/Germany

Two German players, Lena Oberdorf and Alexandra Popp, were both nominated for the women’s award. 

Yet, Magull arguably played just as key a role for Germany at Euro 2022 –– scoring the equaliser in the final and putting in a near faultless performance against Denmark. 

Perhaps it was her domestic form for Bayern which counted against her in the end, but don’t be surprised to see the 27-year-old on the shortlist next time around. 


Thiago – Liverpool/Spain 

Thiago is another who was injured for part of last season, but Liverpool were a far better side whenever the Spaniard played. 

There are few players in world football with a better passing range than the 31-year-old and we’re struggling to work out how his name didn’t end up on the shortlist. 


Caroline Graham-Hansen – Barcelona/Norway

Many were outraged when the Barcelona winger was snubbed of a nomination last year and this year fans are even more perplexed by her exclusion. 

The Norway star is widely considered one of the best wingers in the world and played a starring role in Barca’s dominant domestic season. 


Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich/ Germany

Though it was Lewandowski who gained most of the plaudits last year, Muller was a vital part of Bayern’s side and finished as the top assister in the Bundesliga. 

The German star continues to be massively underappreciated, despite delivering consistently world-class performances. 


Sophia Smith – Portland Thorns/USA

Smith was the number one overall pick in the 2020 NWSL draft and was outstanding for the Portland Thorns last season. 

The 22-year-old already has more than 20 appearances for the US Women’s National Side and looks to be a worthy successor to the likes of Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

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Mary Earps

We’ll start off with England’s heroic goalkeeper in the final…

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