The end of Messi era?

The end of Messi era?

On Friday, August 12, UEFA announced the list of thirty contenders for the 2022 Ballon d’Or! Surprisingly, it did not include the record holder for the number of this award - Lionel Messi! Does this mean that the career achievements of the Argentine are in the past?

The UEFA Ballon d'Or ceremony has traditionally turned into a show. It announced the list in portions, five players at a time. Perhaps the best goalkeeper in the world, Thibault Courtois, and the brilliant forward of Liverpool, Mohamed Salah, were the first to get there. We are sure that their colleagues Leao, Nkunku and Kimmich have much less chance of receiving the award. In the second five we will note the author of the goal in the Champions League final, Vinicius Junior, and the now Barcelona super-scorer Robert Lewandowski. The Pole was not given the well-deserved Ballon d’Or twice, and this time it will be even more difficult to succeed.

Because in the third five there was a place for Karim Benzema, who in the 2021/22 campaign won La Liga gold medals, the Champions League Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, and also scored more than fifty goals in all competitions. It’s not for Mahrez and Son Heung-Min to compete with the brilliant Frenchman. Fourth five member Sadio Mane also had a strong season and even won the African Cup of Nations with Senegal. However, defeats in the Premier League and the Champions League final lowered his chances of success.

In theory, the leader of Manchester City, Kevin de Bruyne, and the main asset of PSG, Kylian Mbappe, can compete for the Ballon d’Or with Benzema. For these players, even reaching the top three finalists will be an achievement, because even this they cannot boast of yet. Cristiano Ronaldo is included in the top 30 more for hat-tricks against Norwich and Tottenham than for any significant merit.

But the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021 Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was not on the list... Like it or not, the Argentine had a very weak 2021/22 season. He did not even show close to the bombarding level that at Barcelona. And his influence on the game of PSG was minimal. It should be noted that Lionel started the new campaign very productively and has already brought several local victories to the club. He is also able to cling to a high result at the World Championships in Qatar.

As for us, there are only two conditions for the return of Lionel Messi to the list of candidates for the Ballon d’Or. This is reaching of the Argentina national team at least to the semi-finals of the World Cup and the success of PSG in the Champions League, subject to the active assistance of Leo. At 35, he can still have one really strong season and finish his career on a positive note.