Erling Haaland will be Lionel Messi’s counterpart in the 2023 Golden Ball race.
Starting in 2022, the Ballon d’Or will be awarded based on a player’s performance in a season instead of a calendar year as in the past. As the 2022/2023 season gradually comes to an end, the brightest candidates for the 2023 Golden Ball title have appeared.
Recently, the British media pointed out 5 names with the most advantages for the above race. Among these, superstar Ronaldo did not appear.
Lionel Messi (Argentina/PSG)
Messi is the leader to lead the Argentina team to the throne at the 2022 World Cup. With a brilliant performance, the 35-year-old superstar was voted the best player of the tournament. This achievement helps Messi stand a great opportunity to pocket the 8th Golden Ball in his career.
However, the performance in the PSG shirt made Messi gradually lose his advantage. Despite strong investment, PSG soon stopped in the Champions League as well as other cup tournaments. Messi himself also had to receive an internal punishment from PSG after voluntarily absent from a training session.
Erling Haaland (Norway/Man City)
Haaland is Messi’s number one opponent in the 2023 Golden Ball race. Without the opportunity to attend the 2022 World Cup, the Norwegian striker made a strong impression in the club’s shirt.
Up to this point, Haaland has scored a total of 52 goals, 8 assists. Recently, the 22-year-old striker also won the British Journalists Association’s Player of the Year award with an overwhelming number of votes.
Now that Man City has completed the treble, Haaland can hope to win the first Ballon d’Or in his career.
Kylian Mbappe (France/PSG)
Mbappe has 50 goals this season. The player born in 1998 made a great contribution to helping France reach the World Cup final and only lost to Argentina on penalties.
In Ligue 1, Mbappe also leads the list of top scorers with 26 goals. However, like Messi, Mbappe had an unsatisfactory performance in the Champions League. In the eighth round, Mbappe was dead and PSG lost to Bayern with a score of 0-3 after 2 matches.
Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium/Man City)
The start of the 2022/2023 season was not so impressive, de Bruyne found his form in the most important period of the season. The Belgian player is the soul of Man City’s midfield. Despite not scoring too many goals, de Bruyne often shines in big matches, such as in two matches against direct rival Arsenal in the English Premier League.
Man City is facing the opportunity to win a historic treble. This achievement has no small contribution of Bruyne. Last year, the 32-year-old was 8th in the Ballon d’Or race. If De Bruyne is not in the Top 5 this year, it will be a big surprise.
Vinicius Junior (Brazil/Real Madrid)
Vinicius is the most impressive player on Real’s attack this season. The Brazilian player has pocketed 23 goals, 25 assists so far. Besides, he also won the Copa del Rey with Real, the Club World Cup, and the European Super Cup.
However, with Brazil soon being eliminated in the 2022 World Cup and Real unable to successfully defend the Champions League crown, Vinicius is difficult to compete with Messi or Haaland.