The Reds forward was one of 30 nominees for the prestigious award, but now was not the day for the Egyptian to get his hands on the trophy.
Messi won the award for a record seventh time, ahead of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
Salah finished seventh overall, ahead of Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne who was ranked eighth but below Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo who was in sixth place.
The top five consisted of N’Golo Kante from Chelsea (5th), Karim Benzema from Real Madrid (4th) and another Chelsea midfielder in Jorginho (3rd).
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Many Liverpool fans have expressed their displeasure that Salah only finished in seventh place, with many believing the striker deserves to be much higher in the table if not the winner.
After being confirmed the winner, Messi gave an acceptance speech in which he sent a message to finalist Lewandowski, with whom he sat for the ceremony.
“Robert, you deserve your Ballon d’Or,” Messi said.
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“Last year everyone agreed that you were the big winner of this award. “
The forward has also been asked about his future at Paris Saint-Germain after joining a free transfer from Barcelona this summer.
Messi said: “Today I am here in Paris. I am very happy, really very happy, I really want to keep fighting and achieve new goals.
“I don’t know how many more years, but I’m really having fun. I thank my teammates in Barcelona, PSG and Argentina. “
It was the first time that the Ballon d’Or had been hosted since 2019, which Messi also won, with the 2020 ceremony being postponed due to the pandemic.