The 2023 Golden Ball Award is said to be a two-horse race between stars Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland.
Striker Haaland joined Man City after a £51 million transfer from Dortmund in July 2022. In his first season in England, the Norwegian striker scored 52 goals and 9 assists. created after 53 matches in all competitions.
The 23-year-old won the Golden Boot after scoring 36 goals in 35 Premier League matches. At the same time, he holds the record for the most goals scored by a player in a Premier League season. Haaland is also the top scorer in the UEFA Champions League, scoring 12 goals in 11 matches.
Haaland plays a very important role in Man City’s treble journey, but the Golden Ball will likely go to Lionel Messi. Many reputable sources confirmed this information before the awards ceremony took place.
Sharing his opinion, West Ham striker Michail Antonio admitted that Messi had a successful year when winning the FIFA World Cup with Argentina. However, he appreciates the Man City star’s record numbers more highly.
Antonio said on his “Footballers” podcast:
“I understand Messi winning the World Cup is huge, but you can’t ignore a team winning the treble and what Haaland did for it, breaking records. He deserves the Golden Ball. If he doesn’t win this award it would be unacceptable, a real scandal.”
Messi scored 7 goals and 3 assists after 7 matches in the 2022 World Cup, being the brightest star to help Argentina win the championship.
The Inter Miami superstar also played impressively for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last season. He scored 21 goals and 20 assists in 41 matches in all competitions, winning the Ligue 1 championship.