Ballon d'Or organizer explains why Neymar was left off list

PARIS (AP) — Too many injuries. A Champions League ban for insulting match officials. Hitting a fan after losing the French Cup final. Agitating for a transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar's absence from the list of 30 Ballon d'Or candidates was explained Tuesday by France Football magazine which organizes the prestigious award.

The magazine said events in what it called Neymar's "année noire" (black year) justified his failure to be nominated for the first time since 2010.

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On the field, Neymar was injured and missed many key games, including Brazil's Copa America title run and PSG's Champions League Round of 16 exit against Manchester United.

Neymar was suspended for PSG's first two Champions League group-stage games this season for insulting the match officials who gave Man United a decisive stoppage-time penalty.

The Paris-based magazine also criticized the "summer soap opera" of Neymar's failed attempts to force a move from PSG back to his former club Barcelona.

Neymar has never won the Ballon d'Or. He was third in 2015 and 2017.

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