On Monday, Lionel Messi won his eighth Ballon d’Or in a spectacular ceremony taking place in Paris. The legend shone at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, leading Argentina to glory.

Despite Messi leaving Europe after two challenging years at PSG, he had phenomenal moments with Inter Miami in his debut season in the MLS. The veteran even delivered the franchise their first title by winning the Leagues Cup.

Alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, who, by the way, is one of the notable absentees among the finalists, the pride of Rosario is leading a sporting revolution despite his age.

While the Ballon d’Or seems to have a clear owner, we must not forget about great names like Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe. Although 2023 was not their year, both could potentially challenge Messi’s record in the future.

Ballon d’Or 2023: Who can challenge Lionel Messi’s record?

Now that Lionel Messi secured his eighth Ballon d’Or, the big question is whether anyone in the future could come close to that impressive record. Currently, his closest pursuer is Cristiano Ronaldo with five trophies, but considering his age of 38, the Portuguese star doesn’t have a chance.

Therefore, the torch will have to pass to a new generation of footballers who will aim to take the throne that Messi will eventually vacate. Despite that, let’s not rule out the possibility that Leo may have one last historic performance in the upcoming 2024 Copa America.

1.- Kylian Mbappe

Had it not been for Lionel Messi and a thrilling conclusion in the World Cup final, Kylian Mbappe would undoubtedly have claimed the award for Best Player of the tournament. His performances were incredible, scoring eight goals in Qatar 2022, and nearly achieving an epic comeback in the last match against Argentina.

Mbappe is only 24 years old, and he has a bright future ahead of him. Although he has never won the Ballon d’Or, it seems inevitable that he will, at some point, be crowned as the best footballer on the planet.

However, while the French national team is one of the most powerful on the international stage, the significant obstacle for Kylian to secure the trophy could be his club. PSG have never succeeded in the Champions League, and without that title on his resume, Mbappe’s quest will always be an uphill battle.

2.- Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland was the top scorer during the 2022-2023 Champions League and, as a consequence, a few weeks ago he took home the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award after his tremendous performances with Manchester City.

Haaland’s numbers in the 2022-2023 season were just amazing. 36 goals in the Premier League (a new record) and 12 goals at the Champions League. That’s why, for many experts and fans, he was the only true candidate who competed for the next Ballon d’Or with Lionel Messi.

Nevertheless, the future looks bright for the 23-year-old. The significant disadvantage for Haaland is that, at the international level, Norway may not provide him with the support needed to compete for the most prestigious titles.

As a result, his chances will depend entirely on Manchester City and their achievements under the guidance of Pep Guardiola to stay in the race. The other alternative, if the rumors are true, is a potential transfer to Real Madrid to join the world’s most significant club.

3.- Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham is the global sensation of the moment. Following his departure from Borussia Dortmund, the English player has had a spectacular debut with Real Madrid, scoring 13 goals in as many games. Impressive.

As if that weren’t enough, Bellingham became the standout player in the match against Barcelona, scoring the two goals that secured a victory for his team in the first El Clasico of the 2023-2024 season.

SURVEY Who will surpass Lionel Messi\'s record in the Ballon d\'Or?

Who will surpass Lionel Messi\'s record in the Ballon d\'Or?

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In terms of age, Jude Bellingham has much more time ahead of him compared to Mbappe or Haaland, at just 20 years old. If the young midfielder starts accumulating titles with Real Madrid, he appears to be an ideal candidate to dominate the sport.

In 2024, the rising star will have a historic challenge with England in the European Championship. England have never won the tournament, and if Bellingham stands out in leading them to victory, he could be a strong contender for the Ballon d’Or next year.