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List of Ballon d’or nominees: Benzema’s major competitor is identified

The 30 contenders for the 2022 Ballon d'Or, which will be awarded on October 17, 2022 in Paris, have been announced by France Football magazine.

Notably in the nomination list, Lionel Messi, the owner of the Golden Ball 2021 and holding a record of 7 times winning the most prestigious individual award in the football village, is not on the nomination list. 

Messi’s first season with PSG is 2021–2022. With 11 goals and 15 assists in all competitions, the 34-year-old superstar was not in great form, but the Royal Park squad nonetheless won the Ligue 1 championship.

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Messi has consistently been a Golden Ball nominee since 2005, with the exception of one year (2007–2021) when he was not among the top three (2018). Therefore, many people were unhappy when the 35-year-old great was not included in the 2022 competition.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s fiercest opponent, is still a contender for the Golden Ball. Despite not having any championships with MU, CR7’s exceptional individual accomplishments (24 goals and 3 assists in all competitions) allowed him to be nominated for the award for the record-tying 18th time. 

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In fact, experts do not appreciate Ronaldo’s ability to win the Golden Ball because he has to compete with too many strong opponents. Meanwhile, Benzema is considered to have no opponent thanks to the sublime 2021/22 season with Real Madrid. 

As planned, the 2022 Golden Ball Awards Gala will take place on October 17 (local time, no specific time) at the Theater Chatelet in Paris (France).

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In the 66th year of organization, the Golden Ball has many notable changes such as taking place 2 months earlier, assessing player performance in a regular season instead of a calendar year. This means that achievements in the 2022 World Cup (starting in November) will be counted to 2023.

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Besides the category for the best male player, the 2022 Golden Ball Gala also has a number of other award categories such as Best Female Player, Best Goalkeeper (Yachine Trophy), Outstanding Young Player (Kopa Trophy, for U21 players).

Ballon d’Or nominees for 2022

1. Benzema, (Real Madrid)

2. Courtois, (Real Madrid)

3. Vinicius, (Real Madrid)

4. Casemiro, (Real Madrid)

5. Modric, (Real Madrid)

6. Rüdiger, (Real Madrid)

7. Salah, (Liverpool)

8. Trent Alexander-Arnold, (Liverpool)

9. Luis Díaz, (Liverpool)

10. Fabinho, (Liverpool)

11. Darwin Núñez, (Liverpool)

12. Van Dijk, (Liverpool)

13. Mahrez, (Manchester City)

14. Bernardo Silva, (Manchester City)

15. Phil Foden, (Manchester City)

16. De Bruyne, (Manchester City)

17. Cancelo, (Manchester City)

18. Haaland, (Manchester City)

19. Lewandowski, (Barcelona)

20. Heung-Min Son, (Tottenham)

21. Karry Kane, (Tottenham)

22. Kimmich, (Bayern Munich)

23. Sadio Mané, (Bayern Munich)

24. Leao, (AC Milan)

25. Mike Maignan, (AC Milan)

26. Nkunku, (Leipzig)

27. Cristiano Ronaldo, (Manchester United)

28. Kylian Mbappe, (PSG)

29. Haller, (Borussia Dortmund)

30. Vlahovic, (Juventus)

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