When the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award was announced on Monday, eyebrows were no doubt raised over the absence of Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar.
It is the first time after eight straight seasons that the Brazilian forward has missed out on the list, having endured somewhat of a tricky year which has been hindered by injuries and a failed summer exit.
And now France Football , the French outlet who organises the award, have explained why they have not included Neymar in their shortlist.
In the move to justify their reasons, they highlight his injury woes including the one who picked up back in January 23 – in an encounter against Strasbourg.
That setback ultimately forced him to miss the Champions League defeat against Manchester United , a loss that angered Neymar in the stands.
The Brazilian went on to insult UEFA officials following the game, a foul-mouthed tirade that landed Neymar a two-game ban in European competition.
France Football, seemingly piling on the misery on Neymar, go on to explain that the ban has been “without consequence, since his team-mates have imposed themselves each time”.
More examples of Neymar’s controversial behaviour include an incident in April when the former Barcelona star pushed a fan for insulting him after the Coupe de France final.
Other examples are his absence from Brazil’s Copa America triumph – due to injury – and the “soap opera of the summer” when he failed to seal his return to Barcelona.
While Neymar may have missed out, Liverpool’s Champions League winners dominated the nominations for the Ballon d’Or after seven of Jurgen Klopp’s men were included on the 30-man shortlist.
Goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defenders Virgil Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and strikers Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all featured amongst the candidates when they were announced by France Football and L’Equipe on Monday evening.
In all, 15 Premier League-based players were named alongside five-times winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.