When this year’s event to honour the planet’s finest player takes place in Paris on Monday, the favourite to win the men’s title is Spain’s World Cup-winning star Aitana Bonmati, while Lionel Messi is the favourite to win the eighth Ballon d’Or of his incredible career.
In the past 15 years, the renowned award has been dominated by Lionel Messi and his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who have won it a combined total of 12 times between the two of them.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo won his first Ballon d’Or in 2008, only two other players have been able to take home the trophy: Luka Modric won it in 2018 and Karim Benzema was honoured last year after having an outstanding season with Real Madrid.
Since the award is now determined by a player’s performance throughout the course of the previous season rather than over the course of the entire calendar year, Messi stands to gain from the recent change that was made.
Messi was voted the tournament’s best player after scoring seven goals and leading Argentina to victory in the World Cup in Qatar. This accomplishment came about during the previous season.
It was the pinnacle moment of his extraordinary career, and it is likely that it will mean Messi prevails over the heavy competition elsewhere among the 30 nominees.
Most notably, there are seven players that played for Manchester City under Pep Guardiola and were a part of the side that won the English Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.
Erling Haaland, who has already been awarded the UEFA Player of the Year title for the previous season after scoring 52 goals in 53 games, is the most apparent choice among them. Haaland has previously won the prize.
“I always said that the Ballon d’Or should be in two sections, one for Messi, and after that look for the other one,” Guardiola told reporters recently.
“Haaland ought to come out on top. We were victorious in all three competitions, and he scored somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50 million goals.
“But of course, if you were to tell me Messi’s worst season, it would be the best season for the rest of the players,” the coach said.
“What more can I say when they both deserve it? To satisfy my own ego, I’d have to declare that I hope Erling wins because he was instrumental in our success to this point. It sounds amazing to me!
The argument in favour of Mbappe?
Even though Messi won Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, the Argentine forward’s club season with the French team was a disappointment.
Before making the move to Inter Miami in Major League Soccer earlier this year, he played for the French club and scored 21 goals for them. However, it was obvious that he was never happy playing for Paris, as he was even jeered by his own fans on occasion.
There is at least a case to be made that Mbappe’s time should have come by now.
After scoring an astonishing hat trick in that thrilling championship game, he finished the World Cup as the tournament’s leading scorer with eight goals, making him undeniably the most significant player for PSG in the previous season.
Mbappe, who is 24 years old, has a good chance of winning a trophy that is organised in France and presented in Paris. The French lobby is quite supportive of him.
When asked who he would vote for last week, for instance, Franck Haise, the manager of the leading French team Lens, did not hesitate to name his candidate of choice.
“Another Frenchman, Kylian Mbappe,” stated the player.
Because he had such a fantastic all-around season and because he is a tremendous player. Even if I believe that a player who has already won the World Cup will be the one to take home the trophy, I would not find this surprising.
Unfortunately, the winner of the prize is determined by a committee consisting of one journalist from each of the top 100 countries in FIFA’s rating.
Even more unmistakable is the path that appears to lead to the winner of the women’s prize.
Four players of the Spain team who won the Women’s World Cup in Sydney in August amid off-field turmoil, including demonstrations against the Spanish football association and coach Jorge Vilda, are included on the list of nominees. The tournament was held in Australia.
Shortlisted candidates include Alba Redondo, Salma Paralluelo, and full-back Olga Carmona, who scored the game-winning goal in the championship game; nonetheless, Bonmati seems to be invincible.
The Barcelona midfielder, who is 25 years old and has previously been a star for her team as they have won the Champions League, shone brightly throughout the competition with her talent.
Because of how impressive she has been, Guardiola has compared her to another one of Barcelona’s all-time greats, Andres Iniesta.
In a normal situation, players like Hinata Miyazawa of Japan, who led the World Cup in scoring, or Sam Kerr of Australia would be genuine challengers. However, Bonmati’s victory seems to be a foregone conclusion.