Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: 2022 Ballon d'Or decisions explained

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.

On the flip side, Messi’s eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo received a record-extending 19th nomination after bagging 24 goals in a poor Manchester United side last season.

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.

France Football's Ballon d'Or award
PARIS, FRANCE – DECEMBER 05: The FIFA Ballon D’Or trophy is seen during the FIFA Ballon D’Or Press conference on December 5, 2011 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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.”

Lionel Messi in action with Paris Saint-Germain
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain reacts during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain at Etihad Stadium on November 24, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

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.”

Cristiano Ronaldo in action with Man Utd
NORWICH, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 11: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his sides first goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Manchester United at Carrow Road on December 11, 2021 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Yeah, we can’t argue with those comments from Bojan to be honest.

Ronaldo won’t go on to win the award for a sixth time, as Real Madrid talisman Karim Benzema is pretty much nailed on to emerge victorious, but he deserved a nomination.

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.

Ballon d’Or quiz: Can you name the missing player?

1 of 15

The 2018 winner – easy peasy

News Now - Sport News