France Football magazine dropped a major bombshell on Friday, when they announced that current Ballon d'Or award winner Lionel Messi will not be in contention for the award this year. The Argentine was shockingly excluded from the list of 30 nominees who are vying for the award for 2022.

The Ballon d'Or is one of the most prestigious and sought-after individual awards in the football world. Messi holds a record number of seven trophies, and has dominated the award alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for more than a decade. However, despite the fact that he won the trophy last year, he is not one of the 30 candidates for the 2022 award which will be handed out on October 17, during a ceremony in Paris.

While it may come as a shock simply because of the fact that Messi is still widely regarded as one of the best active players in the world, his season with Paris Saint-Germain was really nothing to write home about.

They were booted out of the UEFA Champions League in the round-of-16, in a tie where the Argentine missed a penalty. Incidentally, they were eliminated by eventual champions Real Madrid, whose striker Karim Benzema is the top favourite for this year's Ballon d'Or.

While PSG did win Ligue 1, Messi did not make as much of an impact as expected when he joined the French giants from FC Barcelona last summer. His teammate Neymar Jr. did not make the cut for this year's list of nominees either. The Brazilian spent a considerable amount of time in the recovery room and did not have an impressive season due to his fitness issues. Out of the entire PSG squad, only Kylian Mbappe made the cut.

UCL Champions Real Madrid and runners-up Liverpool FC have six nominated players each, the same as Premier League winners Manchester City.

Apart from Benzema, last year's runner-up Robert Lewandowski has been nominated once more, along with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo. Former winner Luka Modric (Real Madrid) is also in the running, but it is an open secret that Benzema is highly expected to bring home the prize this year.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi won his seventh Ballon d'Or after a year in which he captained Argentina to victory at the Copa America and left Barcelona for PSG AFP / FRANCK FIFE