Who will win the Ballon d’Or in 2023? Messi and Haaland in a two-horse race

Erling Haaland and Lionel Messi are Ballon d'Or favourites.

After a fallow Ballon d’Or year for Lionel Messi in 2022, he is way out in front of the 2023 betting…for a trophy he won in 2022.

This doesn’t seem quite right but the World Cup being in November/December 2022 means that the first chance to give Messi an eighth trophy will be October 2023. Right now he doesn’t have a whole lot of competition.


1) Lionel Messi
He is odds-on favourite for what would surely be his eighth and final Ballon d’Or after he won the World Cup in 2022. It doesn’t seem right. It would surely take a ludicrous effort from one of the men below to topple him, which must be a tad annoying in a season when Erling Haaland could still help Manchester City to an actual Treble.


2) Erling Haaland
The narrative dictates that Haaland and Mbappe will be locked in a decade-long battle for Ballons d’Or. Realistically, Haaland will know that his Norwegian-ness means that he probably needs to win the Champions League. He could win it this year and still miss out to Messi.


3) Vinicius Junior
“Benzema, well deserved top player!!” Neymar wrote on Twitter. “But Vini jr in 8th it’s a joke. He’s top 3 minimum.”

But the truth is that it is very, very hard to win the Ballon d’Or as a young man. Even when you are brilliant. But especially when you are pocketed by Kyle Walker over two Champions League semi-final legs.


4) Kevin De Bruyne
Third last year but had a poor World Cup. At 31, he might quite reasonably think that he has been unlucky to be at his peak in the Messi years. Especially if he wins a Treble.


5) Karim Benzema
Last year’s winner but realistically, he is unlikely to get the chance again. Especially as he was absent from the 2022 World Cup which is apparently intrinsic to the 2023 award.


6) Kylian Mbappe
Five times he has finished in the top 10 but never even reached the podium. That’s unlikely to change this year with the Champions League dream gone.


7) Harry Kane
Not sure you can win the Ballon d’Or without ever, you know, winning a trophy.


8) Bruno Fernandes
Nice idea but even a quadruple would not have been enough.


9) Mo Salah
Claimed fifth in 2022 and he and Liverpool have only got worse since.


10) Sadio Mane