Karim Benzema was the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner after his 44 goals helped Real Madrid to the 2021-22 La Liga title and the Champions League trophy. The Frenchman has again been nominated for the prestigious award but his chances of winning are slim.
Below we look at five players who are most likely to claim the 2023 Ballon d’Or.
1- Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is the top candidate for the prestigious award after he led Argentina to World Cup glory last year. The 36-year-old took home the Golden Ball award as he ended the tournament in Qatar with seven goals and three assists in seven appearances.
Messi’s numbers were not as impressive for Paris Saint-Germain last season but success in Qatar means he is currently leading the race for the Ballon d’Or.
2- Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland took the Premier League by storm after joining Manchester City last summer from Borussia Dortmund. He was unstoppable and averaged almost a goal per match.
The Norwegian scored an incredible 52 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions, breaking several Premier League records along the way. His incredible performances helped City win the continental treble. Unfortunately, Norway didn’t qualify for the World Cup and so Haaland couldn’t showcase his skills in the prestigious competition.
3- Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe was only 19 when he lifted the 2018 World Cup trophy. He scored in the final and also finished as the joint second-highest goalscorer in the tournament that was held in Russia.
The supremely talented forward came very close to winning another World Cup last year in Qatar. France defeated several top teams on their way to the final but ultimately lost on penalty shootouts to Argentina. Mbappe scored a superb hat-trick but his goals were still not enough to land Les Bleus the coveted trophy.
4- Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne is an absolute gem of a player. Known for his vision, crossing and wide range of passing, he has been a loyal servant for Manchester City since 2015 when he joined from VfL Wolfsburg.
De Bruyne was forced off early in the Champions League final against Inter Milan last season, but he was a key player in all their successes. In 39 club matches, the Belgian registered 10 goals and 31 assists.
Rodri will most probably not win the 2023 Ballon d’Or but he was phenomenal during the 2022-23 season. Apart from two goals and six assists, the Spaniard also averaged an excellent 1.9 tackles, 0.9 interceptions and 1.2 clearances per game in the English top-flight.
Rodri’s statistics were just as impressive in the Champions League, where he played almost 1000 minutes, with two goals to his name. The 27-year-old was one of the most important players for City last season when they claimed the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup.
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