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Haaland? Messi? Who should win the 2023 Ballon d’Or?

The winner of the 2023 Ballon d’Or is set to be announced on Monday evening, with the ceremony for football’s greatest individual honour to take place in Paris.

The Ballon d’Or recognises the finest footballer in the world and is an award some of the game’s all-time greats have taken home. For the second time, it will be given based on the results of the 2022/23 season instead of the calendar year, but who should take the accolade?

We look at the big favourites for Ballon d’Or success.

Haaland? Messi? Who should win the 2023 Ballon d’Or?

Lionel Messi

No player has ever won the Ballon d’Or on more occasions than Lionel Messi, who is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the award for an eighth time.

Cristiano Ronaldo (5) is next on the list for multiple Ballon d’Or wins and an eighth triumph for the Argentine would extend a record that appears unlikely to be beaten. The argument for Messi is built upon his performances at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar last winter, where the forward inspired his nation to success at the tournament at the fifth attempt.

The World Cup had been the glaring omission from the résumé of Messi, acknowledged widely as the greatest footballer the game has seen. In the Middle East last winter, Messi reinforced that particular argument with an outstanding individual tournament, one which saw the 35-year-old score seven goals – including a final brace against France – and provide three assists on route to Argentina’s coronation on the world stage.

He became the first player in history to win the World Cup’s Golden Ball on multiple occasions, having previously claimed the award in 2014, after a tournament which saw Messi drag La Albiceleste to a first world title since 1986.

The quadrennial nature of the World Cup means it is a tournament that often carries huge weight when it comes to handing out the Ballon d’Or. Messi, having defined Qatar 2022, is a strong favourite to claim his eighth award.

Messi, Qatar, and the fulfilment of a football fairytale

Erling Haaland

Had this been a non-World Cup season, Erling Haaland would have little competition on route to winning the Ballon d’Or.

Haaland produced a spectacular first season at Manchester City, one which saw the Norwegian shatter goal records and fire Pep Guardiola’s team to the treble. The 23-year-old’s 36 league goals set a new Premier League record, a return which included four hat-tricks in an unforgettable first season in the division.

Haaland also ended the campaign as the Champions League’s leading scorer for a second time, as Manchester City ended their elusive wait for European success.

He became just the third player to score FIVE goals in a Champions League clash as RB Leipzig were thrashed in the knockout rounds, part of 12 scored in just 11 games in European competition last season.

Haaland ended the campaign with 52 goals in all competitions – a record for a Premier League player – in a season that saw City become just the second English team to win a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble. Remarkably, it may not be enough for the Ballon d’Or.

Who else is in contention?

Messi is expected to be announced as winner of the Ballon d’Or on Monday evening, with the only expected competition to come from Haaland in the voting.

Haaland’s club teammate, Rodri, could find himself high in the vote after an outstanding campaign for the treble winners, one which saw the Spaniard score the decisive goal in the Champions League final win over Inter Milan and win the UEFA Champions League Player of the Season award.

Jude Bellingham – named as the Bundesliga’s Player of the Season in 2022/23 – could be a vote-getter, while the midfielder’s form so far this season could place him in the conversation this time next year.

Harry Kane (66/1) and Kylian Mbappe (80/1) each had prolific campaigns, with the latter winning the World Cup’s Golden Boot and scoring a final hat-trick in Qatar. Had the final ended differently after the shootout, he’d be significantly shorter odds.

Read – Remembering when a 21-year-old Ronaldo Nazario won the Ballon d’Or

Read Also – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 10

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