The top contenders for this year’s Ballon d’Or award have emerged.
By this time in 2022, it was already clear who the winner would be but Lionel Messi’s World Cup triumph is now complicating issues.
The question posed then was whether someone who had been eliminated from the Champions League so early could win the Ballon d’Or.
Karim Benzema was the winner of the 2022 edition after he inspired Real Madrid to a 14th Champions League title.
A ranking by Sports Brief noted that Manchester City striker has narrowed the gap on Messi or even surpassed him, in the race for this year’s award.
1. Lionel Messi
Messi has remained in the front line of players widely tipped to win the award this year. It would be his eighth time if he does claim it.
Messi was eliminated from the Champions League earlier than expected but that notwithstanding, the former Barcelona ace delivered for his country in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Apart from the World Cup, the football icon has also contributed immensely for PSG’s race to win the Ligue 1 trophy, as well as the French Cup. If you combine his assists and goals, he almost matches Haaland’s astronomical numbers.
The only thing working against the Argentine football maestro at the moment is his form this year coupled with some disciplinary issues.
2. Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland’s goals have handed Manchester City the Premier League title after Arsenal were defeated by Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
With the Norwegian’s over 50 goals for a single season, the Citizens have qualified for the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Winning the three trophies will undoubtedly put him in the front to claim the coveted individual award this season.
Other possible Ballon d’Or winners are:
- Kylian Mbappe
- Victor Osimhen
- Vinicius Junior
- Robert Lewandowski
- Marcus Rashford
Mbappe was the highest goalscorer in Qatar 2022 World Cup, but his chances are dwarfed by Messi’s presence in the PSG team.
Also, Argentina’s Julian Alvarez’s goals were crucial in the South Americans winning the World Cup and is also heading to win a unique quadruple with Man City chasing down the treble.