WARSAW: The editor-in-chief of the France Football magazine Pascal Ferre admitted that Lionel Messi's absence on the list of nominees for the 2022 Ballon d'Or award wasn't a surprise as "the Argentinean didn't have a good year."
A seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi, who won the title last year, had been nominated 15 times in a row since 2006. The former Barcelona star played below expectations after joining Paris Saint-Germain.
"I understand that everyone is used to the fact that Leo Messi was nominated every year. But the Golden Ball is not a plebiscite in which you can be nominated for a lifetime achievement. And we can agree that this year wasn't good time for Messi," Pascal Ferre was quoted as saying by Polish media on Thursday.
"Anyone who follows international football at least a little should nod here. In the case of Leo, with all due respect to his class and achievements, there was no doubt this time," Ferre added.
Karim Benzema is seen as a strong favorite to win the 2022 Ballon d'Or after leading Real Madrid to both the Champions League trophy and the Spanish La Liga crown.
"You can probably consider Benzema a favorite, but the favorites don't always win. What is more, not only Benzema had a great season. The same can be said of (Thibaut) Courtois or (Kylian) Mbappe, who carried PSG on his own shoulders and had great statistics," the chief of the prestigious plebiscite concluded.
The 2022 Ballon d'Or winner will be announced on October 17