The ‘Top 5’ of the Ballon d’Or for Europa Press


Last Thursday, France Football revealed the 50 candidates to win the Ballon d’Or for the 2022-2023 season, a list that includes almost all the major protagonists of the year on the football scene and that already makes one think about who will be the favorite to win. take over from Karim Benzema in the list of winners. At Europa Press Deportes we are betting on this ‘Top 5’ for next October 30, when the trophy will be awarded.

1. Lionel Messi (PSG/Inter Miami).

Leo Messi, seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, completed his greatest work this season: making Argentina world champion. The Argentine star was the soul of the Albiceleste, which he led to win the third World Cup in its history. The Argentine ’10’ was the second top scorer of the tournament with 7 goals, scoring two of them in the final, in which he also scored his penalty shot. Furthermore, 5 of those goals served to open the scoring.

But Messi not only contributed goals in Qatar. The man from Rosario also provided three assists in the World Cup, making him the top assister of the championship. The ’10’ was also the second player who generated the most chances in the World Cup (21), only one less than the Frenchman Antoine Griezmann. Data that shows that Leo Messi was a total player in Qatar, being at the same time the generator and the finisher of the champion team.

At club level, despite not having his best records and not getting past the round of 16 in the Champions League, Messi’s 2022/23 campaign was notable. With Paris Saint-Germain he won Ligue 1, League Cup and French Super Cup. Before going to Inter Miami, in individual terms he scored 21 goals and gave 20 assists in all competitions, being the only one of the five major leagues of the ‘Old Continent’ with twenty in both sections.

2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City).

One season, that’s what Erling Haaland needed to make Manchester City European champions and destroy all the Premier League’s scoring records. The Norwegian player has remained the top European scorer of the season and has won the Golden Boot. City’s ‘9’ has shown in his debut in the Premier League that he is the best scorer in the world, scoring 36 goals, to which there are than adding 8 assists. A figure that has become the highest in the history of the competition in a season, surpassing the 34 scored by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.

Furthermore, the Norwegian giant has also been the top scorer in the Champions League with 12 goals in 11 games. So many that helped Guardiola’s City win the first Champions League in its history, although, curiously, he did not score in the semifinals against Real Madrid or in the final against Inter Milan. A title that was the finishing touch to a historic season for the English, in which they became the first English team in the 21st century to win the ‘treble’. A success in which Haaland has been decisive. They signed him to win the Champions League, and he won it the first time.

3. Rodri (Manchester City).

Perhaps the least media-worthy of the candidates, but that doesn’t make him any less deserving of the trophy. The Spanish midfielder is City’s metronome. From the pivot position, Rodri is the extension of Pep Guardiola on the field. He steals, distributes and generates. He does everything on the best team in the world. In addition, he has added arrival and goal scoring to his game in recent years. In fact, the man from Madrid was the scorer of the only goal in the Champions League final, a match in which he was also named MVP, an award to which was later added ‘Best player in the Champions League 22-23’ .

Added to his incredible season with City – Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League champions – is his success with Spain in the Nations League. Given the departure of Sergio Busquets’ team, the figure of Rodri has emerged as the new leader of ‘La Roja’. Furthermore, the City player, as happened in the Champions League, was named best player in the final, as well as the ‘Final Four’. Some facts that show that Rodri has been the best player of the year in key moments.

4. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City).

The Belgian is one of the best players in the world of the last decade. However, the lack of an important collective victory and the coincidence in time with the Messi-Cristiano Era have deprived him of a Ballon d’Or. But this season he has achieved that great title with Manchester City, with which he has won everything. Furthermore, as usual, De Bruyne has once again been decisive, participating in 39 goals for Manchester City.

The international has been the best assist of the season in Europe with 29 goal assists, distributed between the Premier League (16), Champions League (7), FA Cup (4) and League Cup (2). An offensive implication that makes it fundamental in Guardiola’s offensive game. However, De Bruyne’s greatest duty, in order to win the trophy, is the World Cup in Qatar, in which neither he on an individual level (3 games, 0 goals and 0 assists), nor Belgium on a collective level (eliminated in the group stage) shone.

5. Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain).

The Frenchman is always among the top candidates for the season’s individual awards, and the Ballon d’Or was no different. Mbappé’s best level was experienced in the World Cup. Once again, the Frenchman appeared at an important moment. In Qatar, he was the top scorer of the tournament, and scored a historic hat-trick in the final, something that only the Englishman Geoff Hurst had achieved in 1966. Despite this, France was unable to retain the title achieved in Russia in 2018, although that did not tarnishes the magnificent World Cup made by the French ’10’.

Regarding his performance at his club, PSG, he has also been outstanding, despite the early elimination in the Champions League tarnishing the season. Mbappé was the Parisians’ best player during the course, being the top scorer in Ligue 1 with 29 goals. Furthermore, if all competitions are taken into account, the French star has been the second top scorer in European football with 41 goals, to which we must add 10 goal assists. Brilliant individual records only surpassed by Erling Haaland’s 52.