Inter Miami's Lionel Messi is shortlisted for soccer's most prestigious award
PARIS (AP) — Seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is back in contention for the prestigious award a year being omitted from the nomination list, which this time doesn't include longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi, who led Argentina to the World Cup title in December, was named on Wednesday to the 30-man list of nominees along with Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé for the prestigious award.
Ronaldo, a five-time winner who now plays for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, didn't make the cut for the first time since 2003.
The winner will be announced in Paris on Oct. 30.
France Football magazine has given out the award to men every year since 1956 and to women each year since 2018 — when Ada Hegerberg became the first female winner — though both were canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Aitana Bonmati, who last week was named the UEFA women's player of the year, is one of six female nominees from Spain, most of whom played for the team that won the Women's World Cup.
Haaland is one of seven Manchester City players on the men's list. Last year's winner, Karim Benzema, was also nominated.
Two-time winner Alexia Putellas didn't make the women's list after missing much of last year with an ACL injury.