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Erling Haaland has enjoyed the near perfect debut season as a Manchester City player in the Premier League. The towering striker can tick off three trophies already; those being the Premier League, FA Cup and, of course, the UEFA Champions League. He ended the 2022-23 campaign with 52 goals in all competitions, and may soon receive one more individual award.
The Norway international is in the running for The Ballon d’Or, but will face some stern competition to win the respected gong. Nevertheless, Haaland has done his case no harm at all, and it seems an inevitability that he will win the accolade one day, if not this year. Here, we will take a look at some of Haaland’s competition to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or.
Furthermore, we’ll also confirm a few details on the ceremony, which is scheduled to take place later in the year. The current holder of the award is Karim Benzema, who recently departed Real Madrid for Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad earlier this month after the expiration of his contract at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Firstly, let’s confirm when the 2023 Ballon d’Or will take place. Well, that will be on Monday 30th October 2023, and it shall be held at Théâtre du Châtelet, which is based in Paris, with the whole event being presented by France Football. Didier Drogba, the former Chelsea striker who joined The Blues from Ligue 1 side Marseille, will be the host.
Haaland is of course one of the standout names when it comes to identifying a likely winner of this award. Other obvious names spring to mind, too, but the Manchester City man has performed to a level higher than anyone could have believed. His move from Borussia Dortmund could not have gone any better, so far.
Why does Erling Haaland deserve to win The 2023 Ballon d’Or?
Following his tremendous campaign full of goals galore, Haaland won the highly-regarded European Golden Shoe Award, which is presented to the highest scoring player across the major European leagues. His 36 goals in league action beat off the likes of Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, Alexandre Lacazette and Victor Osimhen.
Lionel Messi is expected to win The 2023 Ballon d’Or in the eyes of many, but it is his exploits with Argentina which would be the reason why. He obviously performed exceptionally to win the World Cup with Argentina, but that is ultimately a tournament, whereas Haaland excelled over the course of an entire season, and in the UEFA Champions League, too.
Who is challenging Erling Haaland to win The 2023 Ballon d’Or?
As mentioned, Messi is of course firmly in the discussion to win this award this year. When this award falls in a World Cup year, just like this has, then a high-performing individual in that tournament will always be part of Ballon d’Or talk from a win perspective. Add in the fact that Messi is one of the greatest players of all-time, then he must have a great chance of being victorious.
Whilst Messi and Haaland look to be the two realistic challengers for this award, there are a few other names that have to enter the conversation. Haaland’s Man City team mate, Kevin De Bruyne, finished third in The 2022 Ballon d’Or, and he more than played his part in City’s treble success. Kylian Mbappé and Vinícius Júnior also performed well in 2023 at their respective clubs.
The 2023 Ballon d’Or Odds: The top five
Lionel Messi (1/3) – The Argentinian great is an odds-on shot to win what would be his eighth Ballon d’Or crown, which he last won in 2021. The one big goal missing from Messi’s trophy cabinet was an elusive World Cup, and with him guiding his nation to their third FIFA World Cup, in his last World Cup match, it would be a massive shock if he didn’t claim another Ballon d’Or.
Erling Haaland (9/4) – We’ve already made a good case for Haaland to win a maiden Ballon d’Or, and based on his club success he would have won it in most previous editions of this prestigious accolade. He outscored all of the big-time strikers across Europe this season, and also won the treble. Still, the Messi story with Argentina is likely to deny him this time around.
Kevin De Bruyne (33/1) – There is a major increase in odds here, meaning this is realistically a two-horse race to win first prize. Whoever claims third is perhaps the more interesting race, and this is the slot the Belgian filled last year. Once again, he played an integral role in Man City’s impressive campaign, and is the first name on Pep Guardiola’s team sheet week-by-week.
Kylian Mbappé (100/1) – The PSG man has been a big talking point in recent times over a potential move away from the club, but that talk has since died down. He ended the campaign as Ligue 1 top scorer with 29 goals, helping his club to yet another league title. By his standards, it has still been a quiet season compared to other years, meaning a first Ballon d’Or isn’t expected just yet.
Vinícius Júnior (100/1) – His club side did not win La Liga or manage to retain the UEFA Champions League, but they did still win a treble of kind by winning Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. He still managed 20 goals in all competitions, but much more is needed to even get close to Messi and Haaland in the Ballon d’Or race.
So there you have it, the winner of the 2023 Ballon d’Or is almost certain to come from within those five names, unless some rather dramatic happens in the build-up to October’s event. To conclude, it would be a big shock if Messi was not the winner given his achievements with Argentina. Given his recent move to Inter Miami, this would likely be his last Ballon d’Or triumph of his career.
Haaland is realistically the only man who can challenge Messi this time around. However, he turns 22 next month, and as such time is on his side in any quest to win Ballon d’Or. The sky really is the limit for the Man City forward, but it would appear he’ll have to wait another year, at least, to add a first Ballon d’Or to his CV.
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