The competition for the 2023 Ballon d'Or is heating up as the football season draws to a conclusion. For this year's Ballon d'Or, the eligibility period has been extended to include the typical European league season, which runs from August 2022 to July 2023.
This covers the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar where Argentina prevailed. Lionel Messi captained the squad and finally brought home the trophy he had yearned for his whole life. Undoubtedly a candidate for football's romantics, but he makes an almost irrefutable case for the Ballon d'Or.
The voters' determination will be tested, though, as Manchester City's beast Erling Haaland keeps scoring goals during a fantastic season. This might lead to a conflict and spark a war of significance between national team glory and club success.
Could Lionel Messi's ban from PSG affect his 2023 Ballon d'Or chances?
The Argentine may have won Qatar 2022, but his play in the second half of the season has put his chances of winning an eighth Ballon d'Or award in jeopardy. On Tuesday, one of these world-class footballers will be competing in the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals, while the other will be sitting at home in France and watching the game on television.
They are two of the most deserving candidates for the Ballon d'Or this year: Haaland and Messi. It wasn't meant to be a contest until recently, however. The 35-year-old PSG superstar had an impressive first half of the season, and then he capped off his career by winning the World Cup, the pinnacle of individual performance.
While it's true that Haaland was lighting up the Premier League with his scoring, the fact that Norway had failed to qualify for the international tournament made it seem like an unfair contest. However, it is no longer the case. After the World Cup, the Argentine's season has been marred by constant boos from club ultras, non-stop transfer rumors, and a recent two-week suspension by his own club as a result of an unauthorized visit to Saudi Arabia.
While this was happening, the Norwegian ace has become the razor's edge of a potential treble-winning squad. As a result, this year's Ballon d'Or competition has erupted into a heated discussion. And right now, Haaland has a good chance of taking it, especially if he helps Manchester City win their first Champions League trophy ever.