Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

In what is a big news for Lionel Messi fans, the star footballer is not among the shortlisted players in the race to win the prestigious Ballon d`Or trophy, revealed the organisers France Football on Friday (August 12). This is the first time since 2005 that the Argentine has not been nominated for the award. At the same time, Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is among the 30 nominees on the shortlist for the prestigious men`s Ballon d`Or trophy. The French player international has had an incredible season for Real Madrid, scoring 44 goals in 46 games and helping them win the Champions League and LaLiga.

Seven times reigning winner Messi misses out and so does his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Neymar. But one one of the great footballers and a big rival of Messi and Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo gets nominated. This is also the 18th time that Ronaldo has been nominated for the award and the record 17th consecutive time. Manchester City striker Erling Haaland too makes the cut- he has just joined the club from Borussia Dortmund – and last season`s joint Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah of Liverpool.

Among the 20 players on the shortlist for the women`s Ballon d`Or is Lyon`s Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural award in 2018, and Barcelona`s Alexia Putellas. Arsenal striker Beth Mead, who won the European Championship with hosts England last month and was named the Player of the tournament, is also nominated. The honour for the best player in the world will be presented on October 17. The trophy will now be awarded based on a regular season from August to July rather than a calendar year.

Lionel Messi, who now plays for PSG, has won the Ballon d`Or award a record seven times, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo who has won it five times. The other 3 players who have won the award three times each are Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten.

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