Sergio Aguero should have already been in with a chance of winning the Ballon d’Or during his time at Manchester City, according to Manuel Pellegrini.
The Argentine has been joined on the 23-man shortlist for the 2015 award of the individual accolade by City team-mates Yaya Toure and Kevin De Bruyne.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award for the past seven years, with the Barcelona star honoured once more than the Portuguese’s three.
Despite being up against such contenders, Pellegrini admits he finds it difficult to understand why Aguero – who scored 32 goals for City last season – has been consistently ignored.
“I don’t think it is surprising Kun has been nominated,” Pellegrini said on Tuesday.
“It is surprising he has not had any awards here in the past.
“We realise he has a lot competition in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Aguero was ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury picked up while representing Argentina in the international break.
Subsequently, he will play no part in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Sevilla or the trip to neighbours Manchester United on Sunday.
Pellegrini is hopeful the striker can return as soon as possible but believes his team will be prepared for any challenge in his absence.
“We know he is working really hard to recover intensively and let us hope he is fit as soon as possible,” he added.
“Everyone who is missing is important to us. Obviously Aguero is very important but I have a policy of not making excuses for who is missing.
“We played well in the last game and will be up to it, with or without Aguero.”