The Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious individual award in football, the Daily Post reports.
The Ballon d’Or is presented by the French news magazine "France Football" to the best-performing footballer of the season.
The winner of the Ballon d’Or is chosen on the basis of a combination of votes from national team captains, coaches, and media representatives.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema picked up the Ballon d’Or in 2022.
The race for the 2023 Ballon d’Or is already on, and the results of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are likely to have a huge say on the outcome.
Without further ado, the Daily Post highlights the Ballon d’Or power rankings for this year following the conclusion of the January transfer window.
1. Lionel Messi:
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is well on course to win a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or this year.
Messi led Argentina to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The 35-year-old also won the Golden Ball for being the best player of the tournament.
Messi was in superb form, scoring seven goals and registering three assists in the World Cup.
The former Barcelona captain has been in brilliant form for PSG as well this season, scoring 15 goals and registering 15 assists in 24 appearances in all competitions for the French Ligue 1 champions so far this season.
If the 35-year-old continues with his impressive form, he’s likely to stroll his way to the top of the Ballon d’Or podium.
2. Kylian Mbappe
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is undoubtedly among the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or this year.
Mbappe scored a hat-trick in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final for France against Argentina but failed to get his country over the line.
The 24-year-old won the Golden Boot award for the highest goal scorer of the World Cup tournament.
The former Monaco star has also been impressive for PSG so far this season, scoring 25 goals and registering six assists in 26 appearances across all competitions for the Parisians.
Mbappe is likely to win a couple of major trophies for PSG this term, and that should boost his chances in the 2023 Ballon d’Or race this year.
However, it doesn’t help that the top contender for this year’s Ballon d’Or is his teammate, Lionel Messi.
3. Erling Haaland
The Manchester City striker is another player who should clearly be among the contenders for the Ballon d’Or race this year.
Haaland has been in superb form for Pep Guardiola’s side so far this season, as he is presently the top goal scorer in the Premier League.
The Norway international has already scored a massive 31 goals and registered three assists in 27 appearances across all competitions for Manchester City this season.
However, Norway’s failure to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar might have hampered Haaland’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or.
But if the 22-year-old can win a couple of major trophies with Manchester City this season, he might just go on to win the top individual prize.
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