World Cup expected to give Messi edge over Haaland
"C'est serré cette année... C'est très, très serré"- Vincent Garcia, France Football
For those who don’t speak French, France Football’s editor-in-chief Vincent Garcia told Telefoot that voting for the magazine’s prestigious Ballon d’Or award is “tight this year… it’s very, very tight” between World Cup hero and seven-time Golden Ball winner Lionel Messi, who played for Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Miami as well as the Argentine national team during the award period, and Erling Haaland, the Norwegian wonder boy who led Manchester City to English Premier League and UEFA Champions League glory.
Haaland has the more impressive statistics — 52 goals and nine assists in 53 matches overall — but most observers believe that the 36-year-old Messi (21 goals, 20 assists, 41 matches for PSG) earned a record-extending eighth award thanks to his performance at the World Cup in Qatar. Messi won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball as the top scorer and best player while leading La Albiceleste to its third Cup title.
"It wouldn’t be logical to not give the Ballon d’Or to the best player in history in the year that he won the World Cup"- Eden Hazard to Telefoot
Ballon d’Or trophy is one of four awarded Monday
The Ballon d’Or, first awarded in 1956, is by far the most prestigious award France Football will announce Monday, but not the only trophy it will present. The magazine also honors the best female player (Ballon d’Or Feminin), best player younger than 21 (Kopa Trophy), and the best goalkeeper (Yashin Trophy).
A panel of journalists from the top 100 football nations, per the FIFA rankings, vote on the men's Ballon d'Or and Yasmin Trophy awards. Each nation has one journalist representative who votes on the international ballot. The Women’s Golden Ball is selected by a panel of journalists from the top 50 countries, and the Kopa Trophy is selected by former Ballon d’Or winners.
Goal.com published the full list of nominees for each award here.
It would be hard to begrudge Haaland the trophy, he is unarguably one of the world’s most talented and exciting young players. But we hope tomorrow will find Messi raising his eighth Ballon d’Or.
This time a year ago, it was much easier to find debates about the identity of soccer’s greatest player; those disappeared after Messi’s dynamic World Cup performance (seven goals, three assists in seven matches, Golden Ball winner). The Ballon d’Or would cement that title for at least another generation.