Soccer

Messi in Pole Position to Win the 2023 Ballon d’Or

The seventh Golden Ball (Ballon d'Or France Football) of Lionel Messi attend his presentation to the fans before the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint Germain and OGC Nice at Parc des Princes on December 01, 2021 in Paris, France.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony is coming closer day after day and various news outlets and journalists have named their favorites to win the prestigious award. It is no surprise that most have decided to go with Lionel Messi to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or, including Marca, the top football outlet in Spain.

The Ballon d’Or is one of the most coveted international trophies in the world, if not the most. France Football awards it annually. The award used to be merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year but was separated in 2016. The Ballon d’Or awards the sportsman of the year with the best cumulative performance including individual performance, team performance and fair play.

Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Lionel Messi reacts after being awarded the the Ballon d'Or award during the 2021 Ballon d'Or France Football award ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on November 29, 2021.
Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Unlike previous years, the Ballon d’Or has announced that the award will be awarded based on your performance during the last season and not the current calendar year. Thereby eliminating any confusion among fans and players. Also, it removed the criteria of career history as part of the voting process. They also reviewed the voting requirements. Only countries in the top 100 FIFA rankings are allowed to vote.

There is no doubt that — barring any significant surprises — the top contenders for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award will be: Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne.

Man City had a stellar 2023/24 season, hence the reason why they have several players in contention for the award. The Manchester-based team scooped up the UEFA Champions League, Premier League and the English FA Cup. They even went on to win the Super Cup, although that won’t count for the Ballon d’Or. Behind Man City’s success is the Belgian Talisman Bruyne. He pulls the strings and makes sure the attack clicks. However, he picked up some injuries along the way.

Most deliveries and strings pulled in Manchester City end up with Haaland. The goal-scoring machine ended up with 53 goals and nine assists across all competitions. He also won the Premier League Player of the Year, European Golden Boot and Champions League Top Scorer. Rodri had an envious season 2022/23 season. After the success with Man City, he was one of the major players behind Spain’s Nations League triumph. He also has a couple of Most Valuable Players (MVPs) under his belt.

Mbappe remained consistent as always and won the Ligue 1 with PSG. He also earned the top scorer in the competition with 29 goals. He also performed excellently on the international stage. Mbappe dragged France to the World Cup Finals, where they lost narrowly to Messi’s Argentina in penalties.

Lionel Messi of Argentina kisses the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Winners' Trophy while holding the adidas Golden Boot award after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Lionel Messi enjoyed success with PSG, winning the league title as well as the League’s MVP with 16 goals and 16 assists. While there might have been questions concerning his claim for the Ballon d’Or, the World Cup win with Argentina is huge and will propel him to the forefront.