2023 Ballon d’Or Race: Generational Haaland or Legendary Messi?

We are just into the second quarter of the year, yet it has been a very thrilling one in the world of football. The Ballon d’Or is once again up for grabs this year, and we have witnessed impressive performances from quite a few contenders.  From Haaland winning a treble in his debut premier league season, to Messi’s exciting World Cup run and eventually clinching his dream title to Mbappe’s World Cup final Hat trick, clinching the tournament’s golden boot and his run in the French Ligue 1, to mention but few. With the showdowns we have been experiencing, the 2023 awards are shaping up to be a neck-and-neck race. 

We will be taking a closer look at the current two top contenders, Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland, and their achievements and contributions last season.  

Messi has finally achieved the ultimate dream he has been longing for, the legendary FIFA World Cup, delivering remarkable performances which earned him the Best Player of the Tournament award. The veteran has been quieter, compared to his standards, in this season’s campaign for his club, with PSG failing to achieve their dream of getting their hands on the UCL. However, he has been instrumental,  helping the team win important matches as they clinched the league title once again, after a tight race with Lens. He had 21 goals and 20 assists in 41 appearances in all competitions for PSG, and as we all know he is unrivalled in setting up others to find the net. Regardless, it is no doubt the World Cup is going to be an important consideration in the Ballon d’Or race. 

However, Erling Haaland has produced breathtaking performances in his debut season in the English Premier League, shutting up critics who doubted if he will thrive in the most competitive league in the world. The goal machine played a key role in Manchester City’s historic treble, as they completed it in style, clinching the long-awaited Champions League Trophy. His stats last season were impressive, breaking the Premier League record for the most goals in a season while scoring 52 goals in 52 appearances in all competitions last season, which is by far the highest goal-scoring run by a Premier League player in a single season, earning him the European Golden Boot, Premier League Golden Boot while ending up as the Champions League highest goal scorer.

For the second season running, the award will be given based on performances during the season as opposed to the calendar year. Come October 30, the winner of the coveted award will be announced. Will Lionel Messi win his eighth Ballon d`Or Award to cap his legendary football career, or will the generational talent, Erling Haaland be rewarded for the brilliant run he has had so far?

Moshood Sidiq


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