Lionel Messi has been left out of a list of nominees for the Ballon d'Or 2022 award. Yes, you have read that right. France Football, on August 12, named its 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or 2022 award and Messi, being one of the top stars of the sport globally, missed the nomination for the very first time since 2005. Interestingly, Lionel Messi was the reigning Ballon d'Or champion after having won the trophy last year for his Copa America-winning exploits for Argentina. Not just Messi but his PSG teammate Neymar also was not included in the shortlist. Yashin Trophy 2022: Thibaut Courtois, Alisson Becker Among 10 Players Nominated For Annual Award

Messi's exclusion from the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist is understandable, given the fact that he had a pretty underwhelming season at Paris Saint-Germain. After securing a sensational move from Barcelona, Messi failed to hit the strings in France and despite his club winning the Ligue 1 title, the Argentine failed big time to live up to the expectations at Parc des Princes. Messi could score a mere 11 goals and 15 assists across competitions for PSG last season.

Meanwhile, Karim Benzema, one of the hot favourites to clinch his maiden Ballon d'Or title, was included in the 30-man shortlist. Messi's footballing rival Cristiano Ronaldo too has found a space in the nomination after scoring the highest number of goals for Manchester United on his return to the club last term. The list also included the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah, Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, and Kevin de Bruyne among others.

Check Full List of Players Nominated for Ballon d'Or 2022:

Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Rafael Leao (AC Milan),  Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Luis Diaz (Liverpool), Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona/Bayern Munich), Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Heung-Min Son (Tottenham Hotspur), Fabinho (Liverpool), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Darwin Nunez (Liverpool/Benfica), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich/Liverpool), Sebastian Haller (Borussia Dortmund/Ajax), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid/Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Joao Cancelo (Juventus), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 13, 2022 08:44 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website