Lionel Messi Or Erling Haaland? Who Wins The 2023 Ballon d’Or Award?

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The debate over the next recipient of the Ballon d’Or continues to rage on with many individuals being on different sides of the divide.

Many hold an unflinching stance that Erling Haaland deserves to go home with the 2023 Ballon d’Or award, while others firmly disagree, as they see Lionel Messi as the player befitting of the honor.

ESPN’s Craig Burley is on the side of Erling Braut Haaland and he has given his worthy standpoint.

Burley whilst speaking on the Ballon d’Or race between Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland bluntly said: “If Erling Haaland doesn’t win the Ballon d’Or, close the shop”

2023 Ballon d'Or award
Erling Haaland led Manchester City to the treble last year

He noted the achievement of Messi for leading Argentina to glory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, however, he stated that it was only a four-week timeframe.

Erling Haaland should win the 2023 Ballon d’Or award

Craig Burley also stressed that many can’t get off the Argentine’s “bandwagon”, but in terms of their contributions and achievements last season, Erling Haaland should win the award.

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Erling Haaland scored 52 goals and provided 9 assists in 53 league appearances, while Lionel Messi scored 21 goals and provided 20 assists in 42 league appearances last season.

Burley, the former Scotland International claims that those backing Messi to win the award, are majorly doing it for sentimental reasons.

He said: “This award, like a few awards, drives me nuts but he’s the one that deserves it but I think out there it will be full of sentimental claptrap – Messi won the World Cup, Messi’s this and Messi’s that, and they will just hand him another one.”

Craig Burley also urged Haaland to boycott all future Ballon d’Or awards, if he doesn’t win the award, which has been slated for October 30, 2023, at the Theatre du Chatelet.

Burley said: “And if I was Erling Haaland, I would never go back to another Ballon d’Or in my life, same as Robert Lewandowski.”

Lionel Messi won the Trophée des Champions, and Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain, while Erling Haaland won the treble – Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League with Manchester City.

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Is the Ballon d’Or a “Popularity Contest”?

The Ballon d’Or award has many times divided opinions, with some having the belief that it is purely a “PR” award.

Their position was strengthened in 2020, when France Football canceled the award for the year, due to the “COVID-19 pandemic”.

Those on that divide express the notion that if either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi were huge favorites for the award, it wouldn’t have been canceled.

Additionally, their claims were also strengthened in 2023, after Lionel Messi won the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award for 2022, primarily based on his outing at the FIFA World Cup, as opposed to a broader parameter.

2023 Ballon d'Or award
Craig Burley claims those backing Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or are sentimental

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi supporters are tipping the Argentine to win his 8th Ballon d’Or title.

The Argentine joined Inter Miami on July 15, 2023, on a free transfer, following the expiration of his two-year deal with Paris Saint Germain.

He has had a great start to life in America, scoring 11 goals and providing 5 assists in 11 appearances.

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The 36-year-old also led Inter Miami to the Leagues Cup title in August 2023, and he has another shot at glory with the US Opens Cup on September 28, 2023.

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