Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi has been criticised by football fans for finishing in the 83rd position in this year’s Ballon d’Or ranking.
The 35-year-old PSG forward has made every shortlist since his first nomination in 2005.
Karim Benzema became the fifth Frenchman and oldest winner at 34-years-old since Stanley Matthews in 1956 to win the coveted Ballon d’Or prize in Chatelet, Paris on Monday.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had won 12 of the last 13 Ballon d’Ors, with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric winning as the sole outlier in 2018, but Messi was not even nominated for the 2022 award. Ronaldo finished 20th this year.
Below are the top 10 Men’s Footballer.
10. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
9. Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
8. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)
7. Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
4. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich – moved to Barcelona)
3. Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
2. Sadio Mane (Liverpool – moved to Bayern Munich)
1. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
“This makes me really proud, all the work I did, I never gave up,” Benzema said. “ l had two role models in my life, Zidane and Ronaldo as well.
“I always had this dream in my mind that everything’s possible. There was a difficult period where I wasn’t in the French team but I worked hard and never gave up, kept my head down and enjoyed playing football.
“I’m really proud of my journey here, it wasn’t easy, it was difficult, for me and my family. To be here today, the first time for me. I am just really, really happy, thanks to my teammates, with Real Madrid and the national team.” He concluded.
Some football fans believes Messi didn’t make the top ten because he’s no longer in his comfort zone (Barcelona).