Seven times reigning winner Lionel Messi not nominated for first time since 2005.
IMAGE: Karim Benzema had an incredible season for Real Madrid, scoring 44 goals in 46 games and helping them win the Champions League and La Liga.. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is among the 30 nominees on the shortlist for the prestigious men’s Ballon d’Or trophy, organisers France Football magazine announced on Friday.
The French international has had an incredible season for Real Madrid, scoring 44 goals in 46 games and helping them win the Champions League and La Liga.
Seven times reigning winner Lionel Messi was not nominated for this year’s Ballon d’Or for the first time since 2005 and nor was his Paris Saint-Germain team mate Neymar.
Other nominees are Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester City striker Erling Haaland – who 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.