France Football has now officially revealed all the nominees for the 2022 Ballon d'Or award, including Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane, but there was no space for Lione Messi.
The awards ceremony is set to take place on 17 October at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, a date earlier than usual due to the event's format change.
Scroll through the gallery above to see some of the favourites for this year's Golden Ball!
The new format considers players' performances over a season rather than the previous set-up, where exploits over a calendar year were taken into account, and there are some clear frontrunners for the prize last won by Messi in 2021 – for a record seventh time – among the nominees this time around.
Real Madrid striker Benzema is one of the favourites to clinch the Golden Ball following his impressive displays in the 2021/22 campaign, which saw him clinch both the LaLiga title and the UEFA Champions League trophy.
The Frenchman also won the Golden Boot for both the aforementioned competitions, and was also part of the France side that won its first UEFA Nations League title.
Bayern Munich star Sadio Mane is also among those who have a shot at winning the prestigious prize this year, having won the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal in addition to the two trophies he claimed last season with his previous club Liverpool.
The Lions of Teranga superstar also clinched the Player of the Tournament award at Afcon 2021, before guiding his nation to 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification in March.
More recently, the 30-year-old won the acclaimed CAF African Men's Player of the Year award, beating compatriot Edouard Mendy and former Anfield strike partner Mohamed Salah to the prize.
FC Barcelona's new signing Robert Lewandowski is also in contention for the accolade after scoring 50 times in 46 outings last season for Bayern.
He was also crowned a Bundesliga champion for the eighth time in a row, while he also got his hands on the league's Golden Boot as well as the German Super Cup, before helping his country Poland to a spot in Qatar later this year.
Other top inclusions among the nominees include Paris Saint-Germaine's Kylian Mbappe, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, and Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois, but record winner Messi is not among them following an underwhelming debut campaign with Les Parisiens. You can see the nominees list in full below!
The ceremony in October will also include the presentation of the Yashin Trophy for the best goalkeeper, as well as the Kopa Trophy for the standout player under the age of 21. Last year's winners of those respective awards were Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma and FC Barcelona teenager Pedri.
Here are all the nominees for the 2022 Ballon d'Or:
- Thibaut Courtois - Real Madrid/Belgium
- Rafael Leao - AC Milan/Portugal
- Christopher Nkunku - RB Leipzig/France
- Mohamed Salah - Liverpool/Senegal
- Joshua Kimmich - Bayern Munich/Germany
- Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool/England
- Vinicius Junior - Real Madrid/Brazil
- Bernardo Silva -Manchester City/Portugal
- Luis Diaz - Porto, Liverpool/Colombia
- Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich, Barcelona/Poland
- Riyad Mahrez - Manchester City/Algeria
- Casemiro - Brazil/Real Madrid
- Hueng-Min Son - Tottenham Hotspur/South Korea
- Fabinho - Liverpool/Brazil
- Karim Benzema - Real Madrid/France
- Mike Maignan - AC Milan/France
- Harry Kane - Tottenham Hotspurs/England
- Darwin Nunez - Benfica, Liverpool/Uruguay
- Phil Foden - Manchester City/England
- Sebastien Haller - Ajax, Borussia Dortmund/Ivory Coast
- Luka Modric - Real Madrid/Croatia
- Antonio Rudiger - Chelsea, Real Madrid/Germany
- Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United/Portugal
- Kevin De Bruyne - Manchester City/Belgium
- Sadio Mane - Liverpool, Bayern Munich/Senegal
- Dusan Vlahovic - Juventus/Serbia
- Virgil van Dijk - Liverpool/Netherlands
- Joao Cancelo - Manchester City/Portugal
- Kylian Mbappe - Paris Saint-Germain/France
- Erling Haaland - Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City/Norway