Messi faces Ronaldo, Van Dijk but no Neymar for Ballon d'Or
When the long list of 30 candidates was announced Monday — in the city where Neymar has played for more than two years at Paris Saint-Germain — the Brazil star's name was missing from the nominations by a global voting panel of journalists.
Messi and Ronaldo's 10-year grip on the individual award organized by France Football magazine was broken by Luka Modric last December.
World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe is favored to add a Ballon d'Or to her FIFA award won last month.
The United States star is joined on a 20-woman list by teammates Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan. Defending her title is Ada Hegerberg, winner of the inaugural women's award, from Europe's dominant club team Lyon which has six nominees.
Neymar has twice placed third in Ballon d'Or voting, both times finishing behind Messi and Ronaldo. Moving out of Messi's shadow in Barcelona, where they won a Champions League title together in 2015, has not delivered the personal acclaim Neymar sought.
Messi won his sixth FIFA award last month, edging Van Dijk who starred in Liverpool's Champions League-winning team.
Van Dijk would be the first defender topping the poll since Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
The awards ceremony is Dec. 2 in Paris.