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seven-time winner of the Ballon d'Or For the first time since 2005, Lionel Messi was left off of the 30-person list of contenders for the prestigious prize on Friday. After a lacklustre debut season with Paris Saint-Germain, the Argentina great missed out on the Ballon d'Or this year after defeating Robert Lewandowski of Poland.

The award, which the 35-year-old forward also received in 2019, was not given out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Neymar was also left off this time. The award will be presented on October 17.

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Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema, Erling Haaland and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo were all included, as were Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Alexia Putellas, Ada Hegerberg, Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema were on the list of 20 female nominees. United States players Alex Morgan, Catarina Macario and Trinity Rodman were also named.

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Six Manchester City players are on the men's list: Phil Foden, Joao Cancelo, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, and recent addition Haaland (formerly Borussia Dortmund). Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz, Fabinho, Darwin Nunez, Salah, and Virgil van Dijk are among Liverpool's six nominees.

Mané and Joshua Kimmich, teammates at Bayern Munich who assisted Senegal in winning its first African Cup before Mané left Liverpool for Bayern, are both featured. A group of six Real Madrid players is led by Benzema. The others are Antonio Rudiger, Thibaut Courtois, Vinicius Junior, Luka Modric, and Casemiro, who was just signed.

Also Read: Can Barcelona and La Liga afford not to keep Lionel Messi?

Sébastien Haller (Ajax), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Rafael Leao (both), Christopher Nkunku (Leipzig), and Dusan Vlahovic are the other nominees (Juventus).

The award is now given based on performances over the length of a normal European season rather than a calendar year, among other changes announced in March. Other adjustments made with the intention of expediting the process included a decrease in the number of votes. Voters will also no longer take a player's professional achievements into account.

The award has been given out annually by France Football magazine to men since 1956 and to women since 2018 (when Hegerberg became the first female winner), though both were discontinued in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Also Read: End of an era: Lionel Messi to leave FC Barcelona

Last year, Putellas became the third woman to receive the honour. Aitana Bonmati, a member of her Barcelona and Spain teams, was also recognised. The players who assisted England in winning the European Championship were Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, and Beth Mead.

Selma Bacha, Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto, and Wendie Renard are the four athletes representing France on the list. Christiane Endler, Lena Oberdorf, Asisat Oshoala, Alexandra Popp, and Fridolina Rolfo are the other nominated females.

(With agency inputs)

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