There are simply no words to describe Lionel Messi anymore. At 35, the Argentine superstar had a fantastic performance in Qatar 2022 to take La Albiceleste back to the promised land, in one of the biggest feats in sports history.

Unsurprisingly, Messi won every possible award since then, including the Golden Ball in the World Cup and The Best award by FIFA. Therefore, it wouldn't be a surprise if he leads the race for the next Ballon d'Or.

The prestigious accolade awarded by France Football no longer considers the calendar year but instead rewards the club season, so Messi's World Cup presence should be in consideration. According to reports, his biggest opponent would be neither Karim Benzema nor Kylian Mbappe.

Messi's possible competitor for 2023 Ballon d'Or

According to Goal, Messi is the favorite to win the prize in August, followed by Erling Haaland of Manchester City. It isn't exactly a surprise, since the Norwegian can't stop finding the net in England.

1 - Lionel Messi
2 - Erling Haaland
3 - Kylian Mbappé
4 - Vinicius Jr
5 - Karim Benzema
6 - Victor Osimhen
7 - Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
8 - Kevin De Bruyne
9 - Marcus Rashford
10 - Robert Lewandowski
11 - Casemiro
12 - Bruno Fernandes
13 - Bukayo Saka
14 - Nicolò Barella
15 - Julián Álvarez