2022 Ballon d'Or nominees unveiled; Messi absent for 1st time
Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi was not among the nominees for the Ballon d'Or for the first time as the list that was revealed Friday included Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
France Football magazine announced on their website the 30 players vying for the prestigious award in 2022.
Also known as Golden Ball Award, the Ballon d'Or is given to the sport’s best player.
Messi, 35, a Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward, has won the award a record seven times, including in 2021.
But the former Barcelona player was not been nominated for the award for the first time since 2005.
Like Messi, another PSG star, Neymar, from Brazil was also left off the ballot.
But Manchester United forward Ronaldo, Barcelona's Lewandowski, Real Madrid's Benzema, and Liverpool winger Salah were among the other nominees.
Portuguese veteran Ronaldo, 37, is a five-time winner in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017.
The Ballon d'Or ceremony will be held on Oct. 17 at Paris' Theatre du Chatelet.
30 nominees for men's award
Thibaut Courtois, Vinicius Junior, Casemiro, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Rafael Leao, Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig), Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz, Fabinho, Darwin Nunez, Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Joshua Kimmich, Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich), Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Joao Cancelo, Erling Haaland (Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona), Son Heung-min, Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Sebastien Haller (Borussia Dortmund), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Alexandra Popp, Lena Oberdorf (Wolfsburg), Aitana Bonmati, Asisat Oshoala, Fridolina Rolfo, Lucy Bronze, Alexia Putellas (Barcelona), Wendie Renard, Ada Hegerberg, Selma Bacha, Catarina Macario, Christiane Endler (Olympique Lyon), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Kadidiatou Diani (Paris Saint-Germain), Millie Bright, Sam Kerr (Chelsea), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit)
"Trophee Yachine" (Best Goalkeeper)
Yassine Bounou (Sevilla), Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Ederson (Manchester City), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
"Trophee Kopa" (Best youngster)
Karim Adeyemi, Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Gavi (Barcelona), Ryan Gravenberch, Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Nuno Mendes (Paris Saint-Germain), Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)