First for Kylian Mbappe or eighth for Lionel Messi? The Battle for the Golden Ball
- In 2022, the Golden Ball was awarded to Karim Benzema, but in 2023 the winner will probably be one of the Paris Saint-Germain players
- The favorites at the moment are Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Together with their national teams, they advanced to the semi-finals of the World Cup and can face each other in the final
- First, however, Messi must stop Luka Modric and the speeding Croatia, which intends to cause another surprise at the World Cup
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In the previous edition of the Golden Ball, Messi was not even nominated for the award. It was claimed that his transfer to PSG was over. The Argentine’s first season, however, was not as bad as most fans remembered it. He played 34 matches in which he scored 11 goals and recorded 15 assists. He was doing really well individually.
However, the 2022/2023 season started much better. His record is 19 matches, 12 goals and 14 assists. He added four goals and two assists for Argentina at the World Cup. He is one of the best players in a World Cup that will probably be his last. He fights there primarily for the coveted gold, which he lacks in his large collection of trophies, but also for his eighth Golden Ball.
Messi, however, has some really tough opponents. The world championships could be decisive in the fight for this prestigious award. Already in the semi-finals, he will compete with Luka Modric, who will probably also play at the World Cup for the last time. In 2022, the 37-year-old took 9th place in the Golden Ball plebiscite.
He can certainly greatly improve this position should Croatia reach the final, and he will continue to rule midfield at Real Madrid, especially in key Champions League matches. Karim Benzema, currently the best footballer in the world, who is struggling with injuries this season, has practically no chance.
According to goal.com, Messi is currently the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or. “If he gives Albicelestes the world championship, it will be very difficult to imagine that he will not complete his trophy collection with an eighth such distinction,” the justification reads.
Second in this list is Mbappe. His club colleague, who finished sixth in the previous edition, is counting on his first Golden Ball. If it comes to the final between Argentina and France (the Tricolors will face Morocco in the semi-finals), the gold medalist – no matter who it will be – will become the main favorite. The 23-year-old has made 25 appearances for PSG this season, scoring 21 goals and assisting five times. In the World Cup, he has a similar record to Messi: five goals and two assists.
Of course, the Champions League will still decide. Already in the 1/8 final there will be great hits, including even with the participation of PSG. The French champion will compete with Bayern Munich. If Messi and Mbappe are eliminated with their team already at this stage, other players may enter the fight. However, if they win this competition, it will become clear that the Golden Ball will go to one of the players of the Parisian club.
Neymar would have a good chance in this ranking, if Brazil had not already been eliminated in the quarter-finals of the World Cup with the aforementioned Croatia after penalty kicks. Certainly, Achraf Hakimi from Morocco will be considered, but he will not compete for the prize itself.
Unfortunately, Robert Lewandowski left the fight for the Golden Ball after he was eliminated in the 1/8 finals of the World Cup with Poland, and with Barcelona he fell from the Champions League to the Europa League. The only footballer who did not go to the World Cup and has a real chance to take a high place in this plebiscite is Erling Haaland. The Norwegian has made 24 appearances this season, scoring 29 goals and providing four assists. If he wins the Premier League and the Champions League with Manchester City, he can be a surprise for sure. In a season during which there would be no World Cup, 100 percent. would be in the top 3 favorites at the moment.
Creation date: yesterday, 16:54
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