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Messi Not in Nominee List, Crristiano Ronaldo Achieves Lowest Rank in 17 Years

Since 2008, the prestigious Ballon d’Or award has been won by either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. It was just in 2018 when Croatia captain Luca Madrid put his hand on the golden ball, but it went back to Messi again the following year. The former Barcelona superstar had it again in 2021 but this year, the award found a new winner in French forward Karim Benzema.

Benzema, who is the first French winner of the most prestigious individual award in football since Zinedine Zidane in 1998, scored 44 goals in 46 games for his club last season as Real won the Champions League and La Liga.

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Fifteen of his goals came in the Champions League, including hat-tricks in knockout wins against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea and three more across both legs of a stunning semi-final defeat of Manchester City.

For the first time in 16 years, neither Messi nor Ronaldo managed to make a podium finish at the 2022 Ballon d’Or awards, held in Paris on Monday. The Portuguese last won the famous trophy in 2017 while it was the record-extending seventh award for the Argentine before Benzema owned it at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Ronaldo secured the 20th rank in the 30-man nominee list, his lowest ranking in 17 years at the Ballon d’Or awards. The Portugal captain has won the award five times in his trophy-laden career. He made it to the 30-man shortlist every year since 2004. On the other hand, Messi couldn’t even find a spot in the final 30.

It’s the first time since 2005 that Messi has been overlooked by the Ballon d’Or jury. Last year, he lifted the golden ball for the record seventh time at the Theatre du Chatelet in November. His absence in the final 30 didn’t come as a surprise as the former Barca captain is having an underwhelming season with the Paris Saint-Germain. He won the Ligue 1 title but the French club was crashed out of the UEFA Champions League after losing to Real Madrid in the Round of 16.

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