5 Reason Why Messi Will Beat Haaland to Ballon d’Or 2023 Award Despite City Star Winning Treble
- Lionel Messi could be on track to win a record 8th Ballon d’Or award in October
- This is despite Erling Haaland’s record-breaking season with Manchester City
- Messi’s victory at the 2022 World Cup is among the factors playing in his favour
The 2023 Ballon d’Or debate has gotten into full swing following the conclusion of the European season, after the UEFA Champions League final on June 10.
Manchester City’s win over Inter Milan saw the end of an action-packed season, which essentially means players eyeing the Ballon d’Or award cannot do much else to affect their chances.
Lionel Messi was believed to making a beeline for a record-extending eighth title after he led Argentina to a World Cup victory in December last year.
He has, however, since received solid competition from Erling Haaland, who starred in a flawless Manchester City side which completed the historic treble.
The Norwegian is expected to give the departing Paris Saint-Germain forward a run for his money in October, but as Sports Brief notes, Messi might still have an advantage over the 22-year-old.
1. Messi won the World Cup
The World Cup trophy is undoubtedly the most important trophy in world football. Messi finally won it on his fifth attempt after previous years of disappointment, while Haaland’s Norway did not even qualify for the Qatar showpiece.
Lionel Messi carrying the World Cup trophy 🥲 pic.twitter.com/2wezDmPnsr
— GOAL (@goal) December 19, 2022
2. Messi’s World Cup performance
Not only did the 35-year-old win the World Cup, but he actively contributed to La Albiceleste’s win. The skipper stepped up when his country needed him, scoring crucial goals throughout the campaign, and he was voted the best player of the tournament for his efforts.
3. Messi’s brilliant individual season
PSG might have been eliminated from the Champions League at a very early stage, but Messi still had a good season in front of goal. He put his miserable debut season behind him to score 38 goals and set up 25 assists in all competitions.
His goal contributions saw the French giants win another Ligue 1 title. His numbers are, of course, almost dwarfed by Haaland’s astronomical figures this season, but there is no denying that at his age, Messi had a fantastic season of his own.
4. Haaland’s no-show in big games
The one factor that could have swung the pendulum to Haaland’s side was if the striker had starred in the latter stages of Manchester City’s Champions League campaign. However – for lack of a better term – the former Borussia Dortmund striker was more of a passenger from the quarter-finals stage and in the FA Cup final.
The Norwegian was also beaten to the Champions League Player of the Season award by his teammate, Rodri.
Manchester City hero Rodri is named the Champions League Player of the Season 🎵
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 11, 2023
5. Manchester City’s team unity
Pep Guardiola has always managed to make his teams play as a unit irrespective of the world-class players among them. Haaland’s 52 goals might have been a product of his positioning and his predatory nature in front of goal, but his teammates played a significant role in his success as well – especially Kevin De Bruyne.
Messi, on the other hand, was literally Argentina’s go-to man. He singlehandedly dragged them past Mexico after their shocking opening-day defeat to Saudi Arabia before scoring in every knockout game.
Haaland’s performances this season should surely warrant a Ballon d’Or award, but the staging of the World Cup in the middle of the season (and Messi’s performance) will complicate his chances.
After winning the treble and scoring 52 goals, what else can a man do?
Biggest Ballon d’Or ‘robberies’ in history
Sports Brief also reported that the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in the ‘weird’ month of December brought about unprecedented debate ahead of the 2023 Ballon d’Or race.
The tournament is often a strong indicator of who will win, with Messi believed to be leading the race for the coveted gong, yet Haaland has since immersed himself in that debate.
There is no doubt that the 2023 race to the top individual prize in football will be a heated one, but what are some of the most controversial Ballon d’Or calls in the award’s history?