Ballon d’Or 2023: Messi and Haaland lead the favourites

espnSeptember 6, 2023 at 02:42 PM ET3 minutes to read

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Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland top the list of the 30 nominees for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award, after France Football magazine announced the nominees on Wednesday.

Messi’s candidacy comes a year later It was removed from the shortlist. If he wins the men’s Ballon d’Or this year, it will be the eighth time he’s won the award – the second Cristiano Ronaldo has won with five. In February, Messi also won the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award for the second time.

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The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on October 30.

Messi led Argentina to victory in the 2022 World Cup in December – the only major trophy that eluded him during his 21-year career – and finally claimed the trophy at his fifth attempt.

At club level, Messi has had a mixed year. He struggled at Paris Saint-Germain as the French side were eliminated from the Champions League in the Round of 16 for the second season in a row, although he did help the team win their 11th Ligue 1 title.

However, he ended his stay in Paris this summer, choosing to join Inter Miami on a free transfer, where he made an immediate impact by helping them win the League Cup and claim a place in the final of the US Open Cup.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland is also nominated and could present Messi’s strongest rival for the award. The Norwegian striker scored 52 goals in 53 matches in all competitions, as Manchester City crowned the English Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles.

The 23-year-old broke the Premier League’s single-season scoring record with 36 goals in his first season in England.

The striker also won a number of individual awards for his impressive performances which included the Premier League Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year.

It is not surprising that players from Manchester City and Argentina dominate this year’s list of favorites. The shortlist includes seven players who helped City win the treble last season, including Haaland, while there are four Argentine players, including Messi, who were part of their country’s third World Cup victory.

The full list of men’s Ballon d’Or nominees:
Andre Onana – Manchester United / Cameroon
Jusko Guardiol – Manchester City/Croatia
Karim Benzema – Al-Ittihad
Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich / Germany
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool / Egypt
Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid/England
Bukayo Saka – Arsenal/England
Randall Kolo Mwani – Paris Saint-Germain / France
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City/Belgium
Bernardo Silva – Manchester City/Portugal
Emiliano Martinez – Aston Villa/Argentina
Khvica Kvaratskhelia – Naples / Georgia
Ruben Dias – Manchester City/Portugal
Niccolo Barella – Inter Milan / Italy
Erling Haaland – Manchester City / Norway
Yassine Bono – Al-Hilal / Morocco
Martin Odegaard – Arsenal/Norway
Julian Alvarez – Manchester City / Argentina
Ilkay Gundogan – Barcelona / Germany
Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid/Brazil
Lionel Messi – Inter Miami / Argentina
Rodri – Manchester City/Spain
Lautaro Martinez – Inter Milan / Argentina
Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid / France
Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona/Poland
Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain / France
Kim Min-jae – Napoli/South Korea
Victor Osimhen – Napoli / Nigeria
Luka Modric – Real Madrid/Croatia
Harry Kane – Bayern Munich/England

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