Erling Haaland was happy just to be in the running for the Ballon d’Or, Pep Guardiola said. Lionel Messi won the prized award for being the best player in the world.
On Monday, Messi got the award for an unprecedented eighth time. Last season, he led Argentina to victory at the World Cup in Qatar.
With 52 goals, Haaland came in second, and Manchester City won the Premier League, the Champions League, and the FA Cup.
Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick in France’s 2-1 loss to Argentina on penalties, making him the first man since Geoff Hurst in 1966 to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final. The Norwegian, 23, beat Mbappe by a single goal.
The Gerd Muller award went to Haaland because he scored the most goals in the 2022–23 season.
“I would say that I saw him so happy to be a contender, close to Messi and Mbappe and the rest of the players,” stated Guardiola.
“Erling has a long career ahead of him, so he needs to keep winning and think, ‘OK, maybe next season I can be there.'”
“This has to be his target but he was really pleased to be there and he seemed really well when he came back.”
Even though City players have won a lot of trophies under Guardiola, they haven’t always gotten special praise.
Still, five players finished in the top 10 for the Ballon d’Or. Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Julian Alvarez, and Bernardo Silva all made it.
Guardiola said, “It was a good night for Man City.” “Man City were there, present, and that’s so important for us because we were never there in the past.”
City players and execs were able to go to the fancy ceremony in Paris because the club had a rare midweek off because they were eliminated early from the League Cup.
If Guardiola’s team has had a full week to prepare, they might be tired when they play Manchester City on Saturday.
If City wins, they will be back on top of the Premier League for at least a short time. They will also have won 21 straight home games in all competitions, which is a club record.
“We love to play every three days but it’s nice to have a break and have one or two days off,” stated Guardiola.
“That’s the way it is.” It doesn’t bother us when we have a lot of games in a row or when we have time off.