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.
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.
Two-time winner Alexia Putellas didn’t make the women’s list after missing much of last year with an ACL injury.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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