The 2023 Ballon d’Or list of nominees was released on Wednesday, September 6, with surprising absences.
In the race that is led by seven-time winner Lionel Messi and Norwegian forward Erling Haaland, the second most decorated player in Ballon d’Or history, Christiano Ronaldo, is off the list for the first time in 20 years.
His absence could be justified by an unconvincing performance with Manchester United last season, where he scored just three goals in 16 appearances, before moving to Al-Nassr.
Despite scoring 26 goals in 30 appearances later with the Saudi side, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was still omitted.
Besides Ronaldo’s absence, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford was equally left out despite a terrific performance last season. In the 2021/22 season, the forward had managed just five goals.
Last season he netted a career record 30 goals, stepping out of Christiano Ronaldo’s shadow. However, the 25-year-old lifted only one trophy, the League Cup, which might have made his chances slimmer.
Manchester City are also in shock not to find Ederson’s name on the Ballon d’Or shortlist. He won a treble with the Premier League giants, but Cameroonian and Man United keeper Andre Onana emerged as a better choice.
Other goalkeepers whose absence stirred widespread reaction include Thibaut Courtois and Ter Stegen, who are all shortlisted for the Yachin trophy alongside Ederson.
Liverpool’s Allison, one of the world’s top 10 goalkeepers, did not also make the list. He was outstanding with the Reds last season, recording 14 clean sheets despite having a less robust defense as compared to the previous season.
Current Ligue 1 title holder Neymar, now with Al-Hilal, is also a key absentee as well as FC Barca’s Frenkie De Jong.
Inter Miami’s new signing Lionel Messi who helped Argentina to victory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Man City goal poacher Erling Haaland, are the favourites. PSG striker Kylian Mbappe also eyes the prestigious Ballon d’Or award after leading France to a second-place finish at the Qatar World Cup.
The Ballon d’Or 2023 ceremony will be held at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30.
Source: Cameroon News Agency