Brazil, Clubs, French Ligue 1, Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain, Story

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France Football have justified their decision to leave Neymar out of this year’s 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist after a “black year” for the Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward.

Neymar, 27, is missing from the initial nominations for the first time since 2010 after 12 months marked by injury.

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The €222 million world-record signing missed three months of action through injury and picked up domestic and continental suspensions.

On top of that, Neymar failed in his push to leave PSG this summer after missing the Copa America success on home soil through injury — starting this season late after a return to Barcelona fell apart in August.

The Champions League and domestic bans were for insulting match officials after a home defeat to Manchester United and clashing with a spectator after the Coupe de France final defeat to Rennes.

France Football pointed to Neymar’s absences from key matches against United with PSG and in the Copa America with Brazil, as well as his outburst against VAR after the Champions League round of 16 exit and his “summer soap opera” that resulted in him staying in Paris after trying to leave.

Neymar’s previous best in the Ballon d’Or has been coming third in 2015 and 2017 and PSG teammates Kylian Mbappe, as well as Marquinhos, made the cut ahead of him.

He has now missed half of PSG’s matches since signing in 2017 and could miss up to a month of action with his thigh problem.

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