Pep Guardiola has discussed Erling Haaland’s hopes of winning the Ballon d’Or and admits it is difficult for the Manchester City forward – or any player – to compete with Lionel Messi.
Messi and Haaland are the two favourites for world football’s most prestigious individual honour, with the latter having scored 52 goals in all competitions as Manchester City won a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble in 2022/23.
Messi is the record seven-time winner of the award and despite leaving European football for MLS, remains a frontrunner for an eighth crown after leading Argentina to World Cup success in Qatar last winter.
The 35-year-old scored seven goals, including a final brace, as Argentina were crowned world champions, with Messi receiving the tournament’s Golden Ball for his performances.
Guardiola, who has managed both players, says Haaland ‘should win’ the award for his achievements, but admits Messi is on a different level to other players.
“The Ballon d’Or has to be two sections. One for Messi, and after look for the others,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference ahead of City’s clash with Brighton.
“So, Haaland should win – yes. We won the treble and he scored 50 million goals. The worst season of Messi is the best for the rest.”