For the first time since 2006, Lionel Messi is not in the running to win the Ballon d’Or.
The 30 nominees for the latest edition of football’s most prestigious individual accolade were officially announced on Friday evening, with the seven-time winner missing out entirely.
Messi endured a slightly tough first season at Paris Saint-Germain in 2021/22, scoring only 11 goals across all competitions. He did assist a further 15 from his 34 appearances, though.
Those numbers are still pretty darn good in our opinion, but clearly weren’t enough to sway the Ballon d’Or judges over at France Football, who instead opted for the likes of Rafael Leao, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Dusan Vlahovic.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone has agreed with the decisions made about arguably the two greatest players in history.
As such, France Football journalist Emmanuel Bojan has decided to come out and explain the reasoning behind them.
Why was Messi snubbed for 2022 Ballon d’Or?
In a Q&A with French publication L’Equipe, Bojan 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.”
Why was Ronaldo included in the 2022 Ballon d’Or shortlist?
“The statistics say the opposite,” Bojan said when probed about the inclusion of United’s main man on the 2022 shortlist.
“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.”
Yeah, we can’t argue with those comments from Bojan to be honest.
As for Messi, his performances at PSG probably weren’t quite enough truth be told, although he’s started the 2022/23 season strongly, so we may see him on the podium once again next year.