Cristiano Ronaldo has missed out on a place in the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or award for the first time in 20 years.
The Portuguese icon has won the award on five occasions, with his last coming in 2017. He has made an excellent start to life at Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr, but that move came in January.
Cristiano Ronaldo spent the first half of last season at Manchester United, and his Old Trafford second spell ended in disarray. The Portuguese icon dropped out of the Red Devils' starting lineup under Erik ten Hag. He started just 10 of 16 games across competitions, scoring three goals and providing two assists.
The 38-year-old has bounced back at Al-Nassr and has taken the role of the Saudi Pro League's pioneer in his stride. He scored 14 goals and provided two assists in 16 league games for Al-Alami last season but was unable to guide them to the title.
The Portuguese icon's failure to earn a nomination in the Ballon d'Or 30-man shortlist comes a year after his longtime rival Lionel Messi was also snubbed. It's a strange occurrence of one of the two all-time greats not nominated for the award for a second straight year.
Messi has two more awards than his rival (5), and the Argentine icon is touted as the favorite to win it this year. That's largely down to his incredible 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar, which saw him win the competition for the first time.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo endured a disappointing World Cup campaign, scoring just one goal in five games. He was dropped to the bench in the knockout rounds with Portugal crashing out in the quarterfinals to Morocco.
Cristiano Ronaldo will go down as not only one of the greatest players of all time but also one of the hardest-working athletes the sport has seen.
He takes training extremely seriously while showing his passion on the field. The 2016 UEFA European Champion is always working on ways to improve himself despite the illustrious career he has enjoyed.
His former Manchester United teammate Patrice Evra reckons Messi would have more Ballon d'Or awards to his name if he replicated Ronaldo's work ethic (via GOAL):
"I feel like Messi. God just gave him a talent, and Cristiano had to work for it. He had the talent, but he had to work for it."If Messi had the same work ethic as Ronaldo, he would probably have like 15 Ballon d'Ors today. I'm just in love with people working hard, so that's why I pick Ronaldo over Messi."
Evra saw first-hand the qualities and work ethic Cristiano Ronaldo has during his first spell with Manchester United. He won his first Ballon d'Or while at Old Trafford and developed into the legendary great he is today.
Ronaldo has gone on to break many records during his career, including becoming the all-time international top goalscorer (123 goals in 200 caps). However, Messi's World Cup triumph last year has many concluding that the debate between the pair has ended. The Inter Miami superstar has also bagged 103 goals in 175 international caps for Argentina.
What can't be disputed is that the Portugal captain continues to turn back the years and show his desire to win at Al-Nassr. Ronaldo has started the new Saudi Pro League season with six goals and five assists in five games across competitions.