The race for the 2023 Ballon d’Or is heading towards its end, with some of the best footballers in the world vying to succeed 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema in lifting the Golden Ball in Paris later this year.
Erling Haaland had a record-breaking first season at Manchester City, which is thought to have earned him the chance of winning the Ballon d’Or award ahead of Lionel Messi, who won the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Although the 35-year-old Argentine may have won the World Cup, his performance in the second half of the season puts his quest for an eighth Golden Ball in jeopardy.
With his 35th Premier League goal of the year, Erling Haaland had just broken a record that had stood for over 30 years.
On the other side, Lionel Messi was given a two-week suspension by his club and is still not allowed to play football.
Lionel Messi had a lackluster Ballon d’Or year in 2022, but after winning the World Cup in 2022, the Argentine master is far ahead of the 2023 favorites.
The World Cup doesn’t, however, seem like enough of a reason to give Messi the prize, especially given how poorly things are going for the Argentine at PSG right now.
Erling Haaland might yet help Manchester City win the Treble this season, so it must be a little upsetting that it would take Messi making an absurd effort to defeat the Norwegian striker.
However, Messi doesn’t have a lot of competition at the moment.
The Ballon d’Or may go to Erling Haaland.
To dethrone the 2022 World Cup champion Messi from the Ballon d’Or, Haaland will need to win the most prestigious trophy in Europe, which implies that Haaland must win the Champions League.
But other experts still think that the Manchester City star may win the Champions League this year and still lose the Ballon d’Or to Messi this month.
The Norwegian has been the most remarkable player in all of club football since last August when Haaland made his debut in the Premier League with Manchester City in a 2-0 win over West Ham in which he scored a goal.
He has led his club into a fierce rivalry against Arsenal for the Premier League title, which reached a crucial moment on April 28 when the two teams play at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. He has scored a record 35 goals in the league so far.
It would be Manchester City’s sixth championship in the previous six seasons if they succeed in defending their crown this season.
Manchester City is in the semifinals of that competition for the third consecutive season, but only the fourth time in club history, thanks to Haaland’s 12 goals in eight Champions League games.
On June 3, they will compete against Manchester United, a cross-city rival, for the FA Cup.
Haaland has a strong opportunity of concluding the season with the largest individual reward of all if City wins three trophies by the end of the season under his leadership.
Chances of Lionel Messi Winning the Ballon d’Or
Many people believe that Lionel Messi’s World Cup victory was the most remarkable accomplishment of 2022–2023.
But if there was ever a one-man World Cup triumph, this was it.
Messi contributed to two of Argentina’s three goals in the final of the tournament and set the tone with the first shot in their successful penalty shootout.
He contributed to three other goals and seven of the team’s 15 total goals during the competition. He was voted the tournament’s best player after having a direct hand in two-thirds of Argentina’s goals.
Football analysts’ opinions
Currently favoring Messi, Fox Sports’ David Mosse, co-host of Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union podcast, warned that if Haaland wins the treble for Manchester City, Messi may lose the trophy to the Norwegian.
“Things will get very interesting if City wins the Treble,” he remarked. “A traditional country vs. club argument.”
He said Messi could win because he “has carried the collective weight of a starving football nation—as well as personal GOAT status.”
Kevin Egan, who announces Major League Soccer Season Pass matches as part of the new Apple TV package, chose Messi.
In his opinion, he believes Lionel Messi deserves it more than any other footballer.
Meanwhile, Gullit thinks that the Norway striker’s chances of winning the award will improve if Pep Guardiola leads City to their first European championship.
Gullit thinks Haaland has a better chance of winning the award than any other candidate, including Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi.
Gullit expressed his delight at the possibility of Haaland winning the Ballon d’Or if Manchester City wins the Champions League this year.
He said:” As a football player, you can’t compare him to anyone. There always emerges one freak of nature.”
“Lionel Messi was the subject of that. He too stood out as unusual. Gullit, speaking in advance of this week’s renowned Laureus awards in Paris, remarked that Haaland’s performance was amazing.
Votes for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award will take place after next month’s Champions League showpiece in Turkey.
Between Erling Haaland and Lionel Messi, who do you believe has a better chance of taking home the Ballon d’Or? Please share your views in the comment section.