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FULL LIST: 2022 BALLON D’OR NOMINEES

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Ballon d’Or award

A 30-man list of nominees for the 2022 Ballon d’Or award has been announced.

Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, was left off the list for this year’s coveted football award.

Messi, who won the title last year, had been an ever-present amongst the nominations since 2006 and a regular feature in the top three since 2007 with the exception of 2018.

The nominees for this year’s Ballon d’Or are listed below:

Thibaut Courtois (BEL, Real Madrid)

Rafael Leao (POR, AC Milan)

Mohamed Salah (EGY, Liverpool)

Joshua Kimmich (GER, Bayern Munich)

Christopher Nkunku (FRA, RB Leipzig)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (ANG, Liverpool)

Robert Lewandowski (POL, Bayern Munich then FC Barcelona)

Bernardo Silva (POR, Manchester City)

Vinicius Junior (BRA, Real Madrid)

Luis Diaz (COL, FC Porto then Liverpool)

Karim Benzema (FRA, Real Madrid)

Fabinho (BRA, Liverpool)

Riyad Mahrez (ALG, Manchester City)

Heung-min Son (CDS, Tottenham)

Casemiro (BRA, Real Madrid)

Phil Foden (ENG, Manchester City)

Harry Kane (ENG, Tottenham)

Sadio Mané (SEN, Liverpool then Bayern Munich),

Darwin Nunez (URU, Benfica then Liverpool)

Mike Maignan (FRA, AC Milan)

Kevin De Bruyne (BEL, Manchester City)

Sébastien Haller (CIV, Ajax then Borussia Dortmund)

Luka Modric (CRO, Real Madrid)

Cristiano Ronaldo (POR, Manchester United)

Antonio Rüdiger (GER, Chelsea then Real Madrid)

Joao Cancelo (POR, Manchester City)

Erling Haaland (NOR, Borussia Dortmund then Manchester City)

Kylian Mbappé (FRA, PSG)

Virgil Van Dijk (HOL, Liverpool)

Dusan Vlahovic (SER, Fiorentina then Juventus).

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MARTINEZ A DOUBT FOR BARCELONA, SAYS INTER’S INZAGHI

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Lautaro Martinez is a doubt for Inter Milan’s crucial Champions League visit of Barcelona, coach Simone Inzaghi said on Monday.

Already without big summer signing Romelu Lukaku, Inzaghi may now have to do without Argentina forward Martinez for the first of two Group C matches with La Liga’s joint leaders.

Martinez, who has scored three times this season, ended Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Roma in poor condition but Inzaghi said that tests on Monday morning “revealed nothing”.

“He was tired at the end of the match, today he’ll do some light training and we’ll see what kind of shape he’s in,” Inzaghi told reporters.

Another Argentinian Joaquin Correa will start up front alongside Edin Dzeko should Martinez not make the starting line-up.

Inzaghi, 46, also said Andre Onana would start in goal ahead of Samir Handanovic as in Inter’s first two group fixtures, and midfield lynchpin Marcelo Brozovic would miss the match injured.

The two sides sit three points behind group leaders Bayern Munich after both were beaten 2-0 by the German champions in the opening two rounds of the competition.

Inter have lost five of their 10 fixtures in Serie A and Europe and the pressure is on both Inzaghi and the team to not fall further behind.

However they have a daunting task ahead of them as Barca have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five league matches.

Barcelona also have one of the world’s most deadly strikers in Robert Lewandowski ready to pounce on any errors.

“Barcelona are very good, they play some of the best football in Europe. We know how important this match is,” said Inzaghi.

“They’re a complete team, they can do everything.

“They’re well organised, they recover the ball better than any team in Europe, they know what to do in and out of possession and now they’ve even got Lewandowski.”

Inter travel to the Camp Nou for the return fixture next Wednesday.

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GUSAU PLEDGES TO FOCUS ON TEAMS WELFARE

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The new President, Nigeria Football Federation, Ibrahim Gusau, has pledged to run an inclusive administration, in which all stakeholders will be welcome to make suggestions and recommendations on the best way to deal with issues.

“Administration at every level, that of football inclusive, requires the wisdom to be able to listen to everyone who has an idea and then pick the very best to deal with each situation at hand. Those of us in the Executive Committee (of the NFF) are only privileged to be representing the entire fraternity.

“We will run an inclusive administration in which ideas and advice will be welcome from all quarters, and will be guided in our resolutions. It is very important to resuscitate the League and engender a massive football economy from which every stakeholder can benefit and also be happy to contribute to its growth.”

A former Chairman of the Zamfara State Sports Commission, Gusau served as a member of the Organising Committee for the African Nations Championship, and is a member of the CAF Organising Committee for Youth Competitions.

He is also a Safety and Security Officer of the Confederation of African Football.

Having served two terms as Chairman of Chairmen and member of the NFF Executive Committee under the Amaju Pinnick administration, Gusau says he is determined to focus on the welfare of players and officials of the various national teams.

“It is important to prioritise grassroots football and youth development, and that we will take to heart. It is also important to win trophies, and both can go side-by-side. Winning trophies is good for our country’s image in the international sphere and also helps to motivate the upcoming stars at the grassroots level.”

The new NFF Executive Committee will holds its first meeting in Abuja in a few days.

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OSIMHEN TO MISS NAPOLI’S AJAX CLASH

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Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen will not be available for selection when Napoli take on Calvin Bassey’s Ajax in their UEFA Champions League group stage game on Tuesday (today), our correspondent reports.

The Super Eagles striker was expected to be on the bench for the Partenopeans’ clash at Amsterdam, but reports from Italy indicate he is not fully fit yet.

Osimhen has been on the sidelines since Sept 7, when he sustained a hamstring injury in Napoli’s 4-1 victory over Liverpool.

The injury was supposed to rule him out of action for four to six weeks and saw him miss Nigeria’s friendly against Algeria last month.

There were earlier reports that the former Lille man would be available for selection when Napoli squared off against Ola Aina’s Torino, but he could make only a cameo appearance from the stands.

However, the Nigerian striker may have to wait till next weekend before he can make his comeback.

According to Napoli Magazine, Osimhen is very close to full recovery, but considering Giovanni Simeone and Giacomo Raspadori’s form, they are in no haste to throw the Nigerian striker into the thick of the action and risk further injury to their star man.

Nonetheless, Osimhen would likely make his return at Cremonese against countryman Cyriel Dessers on Saturday.

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