France Football have come out to explain the reason behind Lionel Messi’s omission on this year’s Ballon d’Or shortlist, which was revealed on Friday.
As always, there is always much controversy when it comes to the Ballon d’Or but the latest edition has caused a few ruffles for obvious reasons.
Current holder, Lionel Messi, was not included on the 30-man shortlist as well as PSG teammate Neymar and this has caused a meltdown among fans.
Admittedly, Messi endured his worst individual campaign in over a decade, having scored just 11 goals in what was an extremely underwhelming debut campaign in Paris. It was his worst individual record since he was last excluded from the Ballon d’Or shortlist in 2005.
Many fans were quick to debate Messi’s omission and France Football, who’ve organized the award since 1956, were keen to clarify the decision via a Q&A on L’Equipe’s website. Emmanuel Bojan, a journalist for the magazine, took time to do justice to those questions.
Speaking on Messi’s snub, the journalist said: “Inevitably, Lionel Messi, with his 15 appearances in a row since 2006, his seven Ballon d’Or victories, his title holder status, weighs very heavily when it comes to the final choice,’ Bojan explained when asked about the seven-time winner’s snub.”
“The Argentinian was part of the discussions to integrate the 30, but the new criteria for the Ballon d’Or were unfavorable to him: disappearance of the criterion of a player’s entire career, and new periodicity, modeled on a season of football and no longer over a calendar year, which does not make it possible to integrate the Copa America of July 11, 2021.”
“And then, it must be admitted that his first season in Paris was very disappointing both in terms of the visual impression and the statistics.”
Elsewhere, his eternal rival in Cristiano Ronaldo made the shortlist and his inclusion also caused much debate.
“The statistics say the opposite,” said Bojan when probed on the decision.
“Ronaldo became the top scorer in national football this season [117 goals]. He was extremely decisive in the Champions League group stage with four off-the-cuff goals that gave Man Utd seven points.”
“In the Premier League, he has 18 goals including two hat-tricks. In total, 32 goals in 49 matches is not as many as in his best seasons but enough to be among the 30 best players in the world.”
The Ballon d’Or 2022 ceremony will take place on October 17, 2022 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. The time of the ceremony is yet to be announced. As it stands, Karim Benzema is the favourite to claim the award for the first time after a phenomenal campaign with Real Madrid.