Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or would be the first of its kind

Lionel Messi has won seven Ballon d’Or awards, two more than any other human, but if he wins his eighth in October it will make more history. No player from a team outside Europe has ever won the prestigious ‘Ball of Gold.’
European football’s most prestigious award, the Ballon d’Or
European football’s most prestigious award, the Ballon d’Or / PIERRE VERDY/GettyImages
3 of 3

The case for Haaland

Erling Braut Håland
Erling Haaland, a finalist for the prestigious Ballon d'Or, plays for Manchester City in a match against Fulham last season. / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Haaland has a strong case, however: he scored 52 goals in 53 matches, helping Man City claim the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles. The young Norwegian set a single-season Premier League scoring record with 36 goals in his first campaign in England. Haaland already has won PFA Player of the Year, Premier League's Player of the Season and Football Writer's Association's Men's Player of the Year.

Perhaps ironically, Inter Miami owner David Beckham was a finalist for the Ballon d'Or in 2007, the year he moved from Real Madrid to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Messi is one of four Ballon d’Or winners to play in MLS, alongside former New York MetroStars midfielder Lothar Matthaus, former Chicago Fire forward Hristo Stoichkov and former Orlando City midfielder Kaka.

The Ballon d'Or ceremony, hosted by Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, will take place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30.