Former Barcelona legend and the mainstay for Paris Saint-German (PSG) Lionel Messi is one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen. His rivalry with Manchester United great Cristiano Ronaldo is a legendary one and off the field, they have nothing but just an ample amount of respect and good things to say about each other. Not only on the field, as far as the Ballon d'Or honor is concerned, both Messi and Ronaldo have been giving tough competition to each other. Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi have seen loads of highs and lows in their career and in more than one way, their careers have coincided with each other.
In a sudden turn of events, seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi was left out of the final 30-man list of nominees on Friday. This is the first time since 2005 that the PSG talisman has not made it to the list. Messi went ahead of Poland striker Robert Lewandowski by a bare margin for the Ballon d'Or last year but owing to a dismal first season at Paris Saint-German (PSG), the Argentinian great has been left out of the list. Not only Lionel Messi but Neymar too hasn't been included in the list. Messi won the award in 2019 but he could not hold on to the honor in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The list also includes star footballers like Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema, Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane, Heung-min, and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The final 30-man list of nominees also consists of six Manchester City players Phil Foden, Joao Cancelo, De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, and new signing Haaland. Liverpool too has six nominees Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz, Fabinho, Darwin Nunez, Salah, and Virgil van Dijk.
Owing to their UEFA champions league victory earlier this year Karim Benzema has also been included and leads the group of six Real Madrid players which includes the likes of Casemiro, Thibaut Courtois, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior, and new signing Antonio Rudiger. Since 1956, France Football magazine has given out the award to men every year and women each year since 2018, though both were canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. This time the awards will be presented on October 17.
(Inputs from PTI)