The PSG Forward and Argentine superstar will not be in the Ballon d’Or spotlight this year as his name was omitted from the shortlist of 30 possible winners.
Okay.ng has learned that the nomination was based on a season’s record highlighting “the individual performances” and the “decisive and impressive character” of the nominees.
After leaving Barcelona in the summer of 2021, Messi was unable to stamp his genius on a PSG team desperate for a Champions League title.
The French champions suffered a last-16 exit at the hands of eventual winners Real Madrid.
In total, Messi scored only 11 goals for PSG with his relatively indifferent club form failing to impress France Football magazine, the organisers of the Ballon d’Or which will be awarded in Paris on October 17.
PSG teammate Neymar also misses out after a season where he scored 13 goals in 28 matches.
The remainder of the list of nominees throws up a few surprises.
French international striker Karim Benzema is the overwhelming favourite after being the architect of Real Madrid’s 14th Champions League title.
He finished the European campaign with 15 goals.
Benzema is likely to become the fifth French winner after Raymond Kopa (1958), Michel Platini (1983, 1984, 1985), Jean-Pierre Papin (1991), and Zinedine Zidane (1998).
In the 2021/2022 season, Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 appearances for a Madrid side who also won the Liga title.
His goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in the European Super Cup took the 34-year-old to 324 goals for the Spanish giants.
That edged him ahead of Raul in the club’s all-time list with only Cristiano Ronaldo in front of him with 450.
“He’s in line for the Ballon d’Or. Is there any doubt? For me, no,” said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Manchester United’s Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, is nominated again this year.
Benzema is joined on the 30-man list by teammates Thibaut Courtois, Casemiro, 2018 winner Luka Modric, Vinicius, and former Chelsea player Antonio Rudiger.