The Ballon d’Or awards took place on Monday night and, in a huge surprise that no one expected, Lionel Messi took the main men’s award for the eighth time, with Manchester City’s Erling Haaland finishing as runner-up.
It was widely expected that Messi would win the award after seemingly winning the World Cup single-handedly with Argentina, while Haaland scored 56 goals in his debut season with City, winning the League, FA Cup and Champions League.
Haaland didn’t leave the ceremony empty-handed, with the Norwegian bagging the Gerd Muller award for best striker with his haul of 56 goals last season, with the audience at the ceremony in Paris being treated to every single one of his strikes.
But, should the young striker have come away with the top award too?
Of course, Messi has been, and still is, an incredible player in world football, and his achievements over the last 16+ years have been remarkable. The Argentine star finished third at the awards ceremony in 2007, but since then, he and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared the trophy between them, sharing 13 accolades with just two interruptions - Luka Modric in 2018 and Karim Benzema in 2022.
The striker spent 17 seasons at Barcelona and won everything possible, multiple times during his stay in Spain. At PSG, he won two Lique 1 titles and the Copa America with Argentina. But it was the biggest prize of all, the World Cup, that eluded Messi, and the striker achieved his dream in 2022, lifting the famous trophy in Qatar.
But, just because he won the World Cup, did he truly deserve to win the Ballon d’Or?
Messi’ record last season came nowhere near Haaland’s incredible debut season, in which he knocked in goal after goal, taking the Premier League Golden Boot, European Golden Shoe, Premier League Player and Young Player of the Season and the FWA Player of the Season, in addition to the treble in his first season.
Messi won Lique 1 and the World Cup. Put alongside Haaland’s achievements, Messi should really have been nowhere near the young City striker. However, the footballing world seems to have realised that a new kid is on the block and decided to give the Argentine one last swansong. That’s the only reason we can think of why Messi won.
But, it won’t be long until Haaland claims the award for himself. Ronaldo has already had his nose pushed out and it will soon be Messi’s turn as the next generation comes along with their own unique style and class - and Haaland is leading the way.
Was Haaland robbed, or was Messi a deserved winner?
Further Placings for Blues
Other than the main award, it was a decent night for City. The men’s team were named Team of the Year for the second year running, while individually, City secured five places in the top ten men’s category. Bernardo Silva was ranked ninth and Julian Alvarez, who also won the World Cup, not that you’d know, was ranked seventh. Champions League winning goalscorer Rodri was named fifth best player, with Kevin de Bruyne one place ahead of him.
Ruben Dias was listed as 30, with Josko Gvardiol 25th. And former blue Ilkay Gundogan was named 14th best player in the world.
And the Women?
The blues were also represented in the Women’s category, with new signing Jill Roord named in 30th place, Yui Hasegawa in 27th and Bunny Shaw finishing in 24th place.
Former blues Georgia Stanway and Hayley Raso also made the women’s top 30, with Stanway named 23rd best player and Raso 17th.