Despite Manchester City’s heroic treble, Lionel Messi is still the favorite to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or as reported by the Daily Mail. Messi earlier announced this week that he is set to join MLS side Inter Miami after leaving Paris St Germain.

The Argentine won the Ligue 1 title in the recently concluded season and also guided his country to World Cup glory last year in Qatar for the first time in 36 years, since Diego Maradona’s exploits in Mexico, in 1986. The 35-year-old was awarded the Golden Ball for being the player of the tournament. These exploits certainly mean that Messi is the front-runner to win the Ballon d’Or, one that would be the eighth of his illustrious career.

Messi faces considerable Ballon d’Or competition

Erling Haaland is also in the running for the prestigious award after a record-breaking season. The Norwegian striker scored 52 goals across all competitions this season and was already named the Premier League player of the season in his first year at the club. Haaland also won the Football Writers Award for Player of the Year and after winning the Champions League title on Saturday against Inter Milan, the striker could lay his claim on the coveted trophy.

Kevin De Bruyne’s name is also in the reckoning after yet another successful campaign. The Belgian has been instrumental for Pe Guardiola’s side racking up 16 assists in the top flight. Current holder Karim Benzema, however, had a disappointing season. The Frenchman missed out on the World Cup due to injury while Real Madrid conceded the La Liga title to arch-rivals Barcelona. Real were also beaten in the Champions League semi-final by Manchester City.

Harry Kane scored 32 goals this season becoming both Tottenham and England’s record goal-scorer in 2023. Kylian Mbappe narrowly missed out of the World Cup despite winning the golden boot in Qatar. The French striker scored 41 goals for PSG helping his club to another Ligue One title.  

The nominees for the Ballon d’Or is set to be announced in August 2023 while we will get to know the winner on October 30.

Guide to Major League Soccer

Here are some resources to help you get the most out of MLS Season Pass!
TV Schedule: All the info on where and when to watch every game
Season Pass FAQ: We answer your questions about MLS Season Pass
Sign up: Learn how to subscribe to MLS Season Pass
Commentators: Check out who's calling the action for the MLS season
Android users Tips for fans Android users on how to watch MLS Season Pass

Photo: IMAGO / Sven Simon