Son Heung-min was nominated as one of the 30 candidates to win Ballon d'Or, which is considered to be the most prestigious award by football fans. This is the second time that Son was shortlisted for the award since 2019. He is the only Asian player to be nominated this year.
France Football, the host of the Ballon d'Or ceremony, announced on Saturday a list of 30 candidates to win the award this year. “Son who was the joint top scorer along with Mohamed Salah of Liverpool in the last season of the English Premier League (EPL) by scoring 23 goals is one of the deadly duo of Tottenham Hotspur along with Harry Kane,” said France Football on its website. Son is the only South Korean player to be named as a Ballon d'Or candidate twice. In 2019, he was ranked in 22nd place for Ballon d'Or.
Other nominees include Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain, Robert Lewandowski of Barcelona, Erling Haaland of Manchester City, Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City, Kane, and Salah.
Lionel Messi who won the award in 2019 and 2021 didn’t make it to the nomination list. This is the first time that Messi was excluded from the nomination list since 2006 when he was first nominated for the award. The 2020 Ballon d'Or ceremony was canceled due to COVID-19. Messi made only six goals in the Ligue 1 of France last season. His teammate Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain also didn’t make the nomination list. This year’s winner will be announced on October 17.
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