Haaland completed his first successful season with Man City, winning many individual and team awards. 52 goals and 9 assists after 53 appearances are enough numbers for him to compete with Lionel Messi in the 2023 Ballon D’or race.
However, the fact that the spearhead born in 2000 could not score or assist in the Champions League final, FA Cup final or a few other important matches of the season made his chances reduced.
In the 2022/23 season, the World Cup and Champions League are the two most significant metrics for this year’s Ballon d’Or race. Winning the World Cup in Qatar helps Messi become a bright candidate for the noble individual title race organized by France Football. However, PSG’s early elimination from the Champions League makes the risk of Messi not winning the Ballon D’or at the end of the year, especially when other candidates show impressive performances in the Champions League.
The most dangerous opponent for Leo in this year’s Ballon d’Or race is Haaland. In terms of both individual achievements (goals and assists) as well as collective titles (Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup), Haaland is no less than Messi.
The problem was that Haaland couldn’t maintain his impressive form in the deciding period of the season. In the last 4 rounds of the English Premier League, the former Dortmund star only scored 1 goal. In the semi-finals and final of the FA Cup, the Norwegian spearheads all started but did not leave a clear mark.
The same thing happened in the two semi-finals of the Champions League between Man City and Real Madrid, when Haaland was completely empty. In the confrontation with Inter Milan in the final, Haaland continued to be unable to score or assist. This performance will put Haaland at a disadvantage in winning the votes in the Ballon d’Or race at the end of the year.
52 goals and a collective treble make Haaland a strong candidate, but not convincing enough to beat Messi. If Haaland shines in the Champions League or FA Cup final, everything will be completely different.
At that time, the situation of the Golden Ball race will be in favor of Haaland, just like Benzema had in the 2021/22 season. The Real Madrid striker last year did not have much trouble convincing the experts and fans when he shone in the final matches of the Champions League 2021/22. The 2022 golden ball for the French spearhead is undisputed.
In terms of titles and goals, Haaland of the 2022/23 season is slightly better than Benzema of the 2021/22 season. The Man City star scored more goals, broke more records and won the treble, while Real Madrid 2021/22 only won the La Liga and Champions League double. But in last year’s Ballon d’Or race, Benzema did not have to face a Messi who had just won the World Cup.
The way Messi won at the FIFA The Best award earlier this year says a lot. The FIFA award considers a player’s performance in a calendar year 2022. Messi’s overwhelming victory over Kylian Mbappe and Benzema at FIFA The Best comes from Leo’s two successful months in Qatar.
Before that, Messi’s performance in the first half of 2022 with PSG was so bad that he was not on the list of 30 names nominated for the 2022 Ballon d’Or. The 2022 World Cup championship brings too much glory to help. Messi won the hearts of both professionals and fans.
In terms of personal statistics, Leo has 21 goals and 20 assists after 41 appearances for PSG in the 2022/23 season. It is also a statistic enough for those who favor Messi to think that the Argentine superstar deserves another Ballon d’Or in his career.
Of course, France Football’s award has different voting criteria and judges compared to FIFA The Best. At The Best, FIFA evenly distributed the votes to four groups of judges (25% each): fans, 300 journalists, coaches and captains of all FIFA member national teams. This is a controversial way of voting and has been abandoned by France Football.
The composition of the jury to vote for the Ballon d’Or 2023 in the final round was shortened, when only journalists from football backgrounds in the top 100 FIFA men’s national team rankings could vote. The professional factor will be more focused on the popularity of the player by the Golden Ball jury, which Messi clearly surpasses Haaland.
Nor does it rule out the possibility that behind-the-scenes factors will interfere with the Ballon d’Or race. Messi has moved to the US to play and people can give Leo the 8th Ballon d’Or in his career, as a way of paying tribute to the player. Individual awards in football often have the final destination of commercial and image promotion.
Tuong Linh | 21:32 11/06/2023