The Ballon d’Or debate is heating up ahead of this year’s event in Paris, with a certain French icon weighing in on who deserves to win this year.
Nominations have been whittled down to the top 30 players deemed to have been the best over the last 12 months, but just like previous years of this prestigious award, it is looking like a two-horse race. Well, it’s a one-horse race if you believe some reports going around as it’s claimed Lionel Messi has won his EIGHTH Ballon d’Or, beating Manchester City star Erling Haaland in the process.
Years gone by have usually seen Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo go head-to-head for the Ballon d’Or, but this year the Argentine has a new challenger in Haaland, who scored over 50 goals and helped Pep Guardiola’s side win a treble.
Lionel Messi’s year
Let’s first look at the incredible year had by Lionel Messi for both club and country. At 36 years old, it would be fair to expect some huge reductions in the abilities of a player, but not this man. Messi finished the 22/23 season with 32 goals and 25 assists in just 55 games in all club competitions. The fact that a player at this stage of their career can still put up numbers like that is staggering.
Of course, it was not just his club football this year that caught the eye, as we all know what happened at last winter’s World Cup in Qatar. Messi quite literally dragged his team through the tournament before leading them to a final victory over France in one of the greatest games we have ever seen. Two goals in the final and a victory in the penalty shootout led Argentina to their first World Cup win since 1986, all spearheaded by the now unanimous GOAT. A fairytale season to say the least.
|Lionel Messi – Career Statistics
Erling Haaland’s year
The Norwegian goal machine had quite a memorable first season in England. After joining from Dortmund in a move that had the world watching, there was huge pressure for Haaland to succeed immediately under Pep Guardiola, and succeed he certainly did. He has been a machine since the first minute of his Manchester City career, and went on to score 52 goals in 53 games in all competitions.
|Erling Haaland – 2022/23 season
The Premier League goal scoring record for one season was smashed out the park at the first attempt by Haaland, as his 36 goals helped City to another title. However, the accolades did not stop there, and we know City went on to complete a historical treble, by beating rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final, before completing the job with Champions League glory after a victory against Inter Milan in the final.
Thierry Henry has his say on Ballon d’Or
Discussion among fans and pundits alike has been torn, with last night’s CBS Sports Golazo panel putting their views across of who they think should take the crown.
Of course, everyone has valid opinions, but when Thierry Henry speaks, you listen, and last night he made it clear what he thought of this year’s award. In a clip that’s circulating around socials, the Frenchman is very clear to get to his point across. He goes into detail about the heroics of the World Cup run, including heavy praise to Messi in defeating his beloved France in the final.
When asked for a definitive answer at the end of who deserves to win the illustrious award, Henry simply says: “Messi. Bye. Over.” We could not have put it much better myself!
Haaland is a machine and had one of the most efficient seasons we have ever seen, but Messi is pure magic, and so long as the Argentinian is playing football at his robot-like level, he will always be at the forefront of Ballon d’Or voting.
The ceremony is now fast approaching, fans can tune into the award show from 8pm on Monday the 30th of October to see the action unfold.