The importance of the Ballon d’Or lies somewhere between nebulous and ultimate, with each deciding exactly where on that scale they value the award. Yet it remains clear that it is something players aim for.
Although it is unlikely either will win it this season, Cristiano Ronaldo does remain in with a shot at the award, while Lionel Messi does not. The Argentine has been left off L’Equipe’s 30-man shortlist for the award for the first time in 16 years. However they did publish an article explaining the decision, as per Marca.
L’Equipe referenced the tension between Messi and former manager Mauricio Pochettino, describing his first season in Paris as a disappointment. Six goals in Ligue 1 were insufficient and Messi did not perform when it mattered most, during Paris Saint-Germain’s elimination at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16.
Meanwhile their reasons for including Cristiano Ronaldo were that he became the leading international scorer in history, scored six goals in the group stage of the Champions League to qualify Manchester United for the knockout phase and finished the season with 32 goals in 49 appearances.