On November 29th, 2021, Paris Saint-Germain‘s Lionel Messi won the coveted Ballon d’Or award for a record seventh time.

The little Argentine genius just pipped Bayern Munich‘s Robert Lewandowski to the accolade, mainly due to the fact that he guided his country to a Copa America triumph back in the summer.

In the eyes of many, Messi was a deserving winner, as he also helped keep Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona side afloat.

The tail end of 2021 wasn’t too kind to the 34-year-old, though.

Messi’s found the going tough since swapping Catalonia for Paris and has scored just one Ligue 1 goal at the time of writing.

And as a result of his slight struggles at PSG thus far, the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner has missed out on a spot in L’Equipe’s latest Team of the Year.


Liverpool‘s Mohamed Salah occupies the right-wing position in the French publication’s 4-4-2 setup, with Real Madrid ace Karim Benzema and Lewandowski the two strikers.

Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo joins eternal rival Messi in missing out altogether, as does PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe.

Take a look at the team in full here…

L’Equipe’s Team of the Year for 2021

Unsurprisingly, the Premier League is the dominant division with seven players included, including three from Champions League winners Chelsea (Edouard Mendy, N’Golo Kante & Jorginho).

There are certainly a few eyebrow-raising inclusions in the XI, mainly Manchester City‘s Kevin De Bruyne.

While the Belgian is one of the world’s best footballers, 2021 was far from his best year as a professional, with injuries taking their toll on him after the conclusion of Euro 2020.

Given that, it’s slightly puzzling as to why L’Equipe didn’t try and shoehorn Mbappe into the XI at De Bruyne’s expense, as the PSG man produced some quite outrageous goal contribution numbers last year (43 goals and 22 assists at club level).

Theo Hernandez’s selection is also an interesting one, although the AC Milan left-back was electric throughout most of 2021 and is now in the mix to be France’s first-choice in his position.

However, after his exploits on the left-hand side of City’s defence in recent times, Joao Cancelo will be rather annoyed that he’s not joined teammate and fellow countryman Ruben Dias in the XI’s back-line…


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