The Ballon d’Or 2023 ceremony took place recently, and some of the biggest names in the world competed to win this prestigious award. The gala in Paris determined the best players of the past season.

There was a lot of competition for the men’s award. We witnessed some amazing performances from the players. Lionel Messi‘s World Cup triumph made him the favorite to win his record eighth crown. However, Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne were also in the race to win this award for the first time after winning a historic treble with Manchester City.

Ballon d’Or 2023 List of Awards

  • Ballon d’Or: Best male player
  • Ballon d’Or Féminin: Best female player
  • Yashin Trophy: Best Goalkeeper
  • Kopa Trophy: Best U-21 player
  • Socrates Award: Humanitarian work done by a footballer
  • Gerd Muller Trophy: Best striker
  • Club of the Year

Date and time of the ceremony

The 67th annual Ballon d’Or ceremony took place on Monday 30 October 2023 at 8:00 PM (GMT); and Tuesday 31 October 2023 at 1:30 AM (IST) at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France.

Past Winners

Karim Benzema won the men’s award in 2022 and Alexia Putellas lifted the women’s award.

How is the Ballon d’Or decided?

The awards honour the male and female players deemed to have performed the best over the previous season with the victors decided by 100 journalists from Fifa’s top-ranked member nations. 

Each journalist makes their top five picks from the 30-player shortlists, with each ranking earning several votes. The higher the ranking the more votes go to a player. The players with the most votes at the end of the tally win the awards.

Kopa Trophy 2023 NOMINEES

  • Rasmus Hojlund (Manchester United)
  • Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
  • Alejandro Balde (Barcelona)
  • Pedri (Barcelona)
  • Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)
  • Antonio Silva (Benfica)
  • Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid)
  • Xavi Simons (RB Leipzig)
  • Gavi (Barcelona)
  • Elye Wahi (Lens)

Yashin Trophy Nominees 2023

  • Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
  • Mike Maignan (AC Milan)
  • Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid)
  • Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
  • Yasssine Bounou (Al Hilal)
  • Andre Onana (Manchester United)
  • Dominik Livakovic (Fenerbahce)
  • Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona)
  • Ederson (Manchester City)
  • Brice Samba (Lens)

Also read: Leo Messi’s Influence In Inter Miami

Legendary players give their opinions

Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazario has picked his side in the debate of Lionel Messi or Erling Haaland winning the prestigious award. Interestingly, the legendary footballer expressed that Messi’s FIFA World Cup campaign reminded him of the legendary campaigns of Maradona and Pele. Among fans, Messi stands as the favourite. He said:

“The Ballon d’Or should go to him [Lionel Messi], without a doubt. What Messi did in the World Cup was special. It reminded me of the campaigns of Pelé and Maradona,”

Last week, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he would love for Haaland to win the prestigious trophy but Messi was likelier to nick the Norwegian in the race. He said:

“Haaland should win – Yes. We won the treble and he scored 50, I don’t know, a million goals. But of course, if you tell me the worst Messi season? That’s the best for the rest of the players. Both deserve it, what can I say? I want Haaland to have it because he helped us achieve what we achieved. But Messi won the World Cup. It’s good that players here are up for the award, it makes us so proud.”

Thierry Henry was asked for his thoughts on the debate and revealed which player gets his vote for the Ballon d’Or 2023:

“I mean a lot of people can debate that but for me if you win the World Cup, the way he did it, we can talk about what happened in the final. As a Frenchman, I was a little bit disappointed with how it finished but you can’t say that it isn’t deserved if he wins it. For me, Messi. Bye. Over.”

Messi vs Halaand?

The 36-year-old Messi led Argentina to a World Cup triumph in Qatar, scoring an impressive seven goals and three assists in seven starts. Scoring two in the final against a star-studded French team. He added 16 goals and 16 assists in Ligue 1 play for Paris Saint-Germain as it won the league title, and he tallied four goals and four assists in Champions League play.

It was not his most impressive season on the club level, compared to his previous heights in that regard, but his fantastic showing in Qatar led his country to its third World Cup title and first since the Diego Maradona era. It was one of the most dominant and inspirational individual displays from the magician. He’s the favorite to earn his record eighth Ballon d’Or.

Haaland, on the other hand, was an absolute menace at the club level in his first season with Manchester City. The 23-year-old set a Premier League record with 36 goals in league play in 2022-23 (adding eight assists) and added 12 goals and an assist in the Champions League, three goals in the FA Cup and one goal in the Carabao Cup.

He was a huge factor in City pulling down the triple, winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, marking one of the most successful seasons in club football history.

He scored a record-breaking 36 Premier League goals, 11 UCL goals & three FA Cup goals.

Between August 2022 and July 2023 (the period under consideration for this year’s Ballon d’Or), Messi scored 41 goals and assisted a further 26 for club and country. In contrast, Haaland netted 56 times creating 10 goals for his teammates in all competitions. Combine their attacking numbers and Messi has one more direct goal contribution than Haaland.

On digging deeper, though, the gulf becomes clear. On attacking parameters like chances created, key passes played and dribbles completed, Haaland is nowhere near Messi, whose 16 man-of-the-match titles are more than anyone else over the duration. Notwithstanding Haaland’s record-breaking 36 goals in the Premier League in 2022/23, it is Messi who finished last term as the highest-rated player in Europe’s top five leagues, with an average match score of 8.28.

At the World Cup in Qatar, which Haaland and his Norway squad could only watch from home, Messi was once again the leading performer as determined by quantifiable metrics, with a rating of 8.25 (all data as per WhoScored).

Who won the ultimate Ballon d’Or 2023 prize? 

Lionel Messi, following his remarkable achievements and performances during the past season, has emerged as the ultimate winner of the Ballon d’Or 2023. His World Cup triumph and outstanding contributions both on the international and club level have solidified his claim to the prestigious award. Messi’s historic eighth Ballon d’Or victory cements his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

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