Legends and Rising Stars: Ballon d’Or 2023 Unraveled

Paris recently witnessed the grand spectacle of the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards ceremony, where the world’s finest footballers gathered to find out who would inherit Karim Benzema’s 2022 Golden Ball crown. In the end, the historic eighth Ballon d’Or went to none other than Lionel Messi, who was lauded for his incredible World Cup heroics with Argentina.

An Unconventional Battle

Legends and Rising Stars: Ballon d'Or 2023 Unraveled

The 2023 Ballon d’Or race had a unique twist. With the World Cup taking place in the middle of the 2022-23 season, it raised questions about whether it would still be fresh in the minds of voters by August. But one thing was clear: standout performances in Qatar significantly bolstered certain players’ chances, even as domestic and European titles took center stage toward the end of the season.

The Power Rankings

Our journey through the Ballon d’Or race began in October 2022. As the season unfolded, it became evident that Lionel Messi would reclaim the throne, closely followed by the dynamic Erling Haaland. Below are our final power rankings (official rankings in parentheses):

1. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) – Official ranking: 1st

In 2022-23, Messi delivered a rollercoaster season with 42 goals and 26 assists. He secured the World Cup, Ligue 1, and Trophee des Champions with stellar performances. While his form wavered during the latter half of the season, his iconic World Cup win cemented his eighth Ballon d’Or. The early signs at Inter Miami suggest that he is far from finished and can still produce unmatched performances.

2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City) – Official ranking: 2nd

Legends and Rising Stars: Ballon d'Or 2023 Unraveled

Haaland had a record-breaking season in 2022-23, tallying 56 goals and nine assists while winning the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup with Manchester City. His dominance was undeniable. However, a late-season goal drought hurt his Ballon d’Or chances. Still, his remarkable efforts played a crucial role in Pep Guardiola’s side’s treble-winning campaign.

3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – Official ranking: 3rd

During the 2022-23 season, Mbappe showcased his prowess with 55 goals and 14 assists, leading Paris Saint-Germain to a Ligue 1 title. His crowning achievement was winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup, which included a memorable hat-trick in the final. However, a World Cup disappointment and a lack of a deep Champions League run might have impacted his Ballon d’Or chances.

Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich) – Official ranking: 26th

Legends and Rising Stars: Ballon d'Or 2023 Unraveled

In 2022-23, the young playmaker Musiala displayed his skills with 16 goals and 18 assists while winning the Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup with Bayern Munich. He started the season like a house on fire, undoubtedly earning the title of Bundesliga’s Player of the Season at the campaign’s halfway point. However, as Bayern’s form started to stutter, so did Musiala’s, almost certainly diminishing his chances of challenging for the Ballon d’Or. Nonetheless, he secured Bayern’s 11th consecutive league title, and his nomination was undoubtedly well-deserved.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Official ranking: 11th

In 2022-23, Salah remained a formidable force with 34 goals and 20 assists. Despite Liverpool’s challenging season, his impressive performance might help him garner a few extra votes for the Ballon d’Or. However, it was an unsung season for Salah in his Reds’ career, likely placing him lower in the Ballon d’Or pecking order.

Messi’s Eighth Ballon d’Or Triumph

Lionel Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or was a remarkable achievement that marked his enduring influence on the sport. With the award secured, the football world ponders whether this will be his final win. While Messi’s journey has taken him to Inter Miami, his early form with the club suggests that he’s not done with producing unforgettable performances. His impact on football is unparalleled, and fans eagerly anticipate more magic from the football maestro.

The Battle for the Ballon d’Or

This year’s Ballon d’Or was a captivating battle of legends and rising stars. While Messi, Haaland, and Mbappe were the frontrunners, other players like Musiala and Salah made compelling cases for themselves. The unique circumstances of the World Cup’s timing added an extra layer of excitement to the race.

The World Cup, taking place midway through the season, led to speculation about whether it would remain a defining factor in the Ballon d’Or race. However, it was clear that exceptional performances in Qatar made an indelible impact on the contenders’ prospects.

The Unpredictable Journey of Football

In the end, the Ballon d’Or is a testament to the unpredictability and enduring excellence of football. While the trophy went to Messi for an eighth time, the competition from Haaland and Mbappe, the emergence of young talents like Musiala, and the consistency of stars like Salah made the race memorable.

As the football world eagerly awaits the next chapter of the sport’s history, the Ballon d’Or continues to be a symbol of greatness and an enduring celebration of the world’s most beloved game.

ALSO READ: Ballon d’Or 2023: The Thrilling Race for Football’s Most Prestigious Prize


In conclusion, the 2023 Ballon d’Or was a memorable battle of football legends and emerging stars. Lionel Messi’s eighth triumph marked a historic milestone, underlining his timeless brilliance. The competition from Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe added to the drama, while players like Jamal Musiala and Mohamed Salah made compelling cases. The unique timing of the World Cup in the season made the race more exciting. This event exemplified the unpredictable beauty of football. As the sport continues to evolve, the Ballon d’Or remains a symbol of greatness and an enduring celebration of the world’s most beloved game.

It was a celebration of football’s beauty and unpredictability. Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or marked a historic milestone, but the journey of the sport continues, with new legends waiting to emerge and new stories yet to be written.

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