- The nominees for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award have been announced
- Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi heads the list that has the likes of Mbappe, Halaand, and De Bruyne
- The winner will be announced on October 30 in Paris, France
Lionel Messi leads the pack of nominees for the prestigious men’s Ballon d’Or award following his instrumental role in guiding Argentina to World Cup triumph. France Football, the organizing body, revealed the 30-man shortlist for the coveted honor, which also features prominent names like Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, and Bukayo Saka.
Messi, a record seven-time recipient of the annual World Player of the Year accolade, emerges as the frontrunner once again. At 36 years old, the football maestro, now plying his trade with Inter Miami, served as the linchpin of Argentina’s success in Qatar last winter, netting an impressive seven goals during the tournament.
Erling Haaland, who notched an astonishing 52 goals while helping Manchester City secure a treble last season, is among the seven players from the triumphant City squad included in the shortlist. This group also comprises former captain Ilkay Gundogan (now with Barcelona), Julian Alvarez (another World Cup champion), Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, and Bernardo Silva.
Harry Kane, the captain of the England national team, earned his place on the list by scoring a remarkable 40 goals for both club and country, before making a move from Tottenham to Bayern Munich. His compatriots, Jude Bellingham, now at Real Madrid, and Bukayo Saka of Arsenal, also impressed with their performances.
The Premier League boasts several other notable inclusions, such as Aston Villa’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emi Martinez, Liverpool’s prolific forward Mohamed Salah, and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard.
In a surprising turn of events, Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, did not receive a nomination for the first time since 2003. Ronaldo currently plies his trade for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia.
On the women’s side, England’s Rachel Daly, Georgia Stanway, Millie Bright, and Mary Earps have secured their spots on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award. Their inclusion comes after a remarkable journey that saw them reach the World Cup final. Earps, the goalkeeper, received the Golden Glove after keeping four clean sheets during the tournament, while Daly emerged as the top scorer in the Women’s Super League last season.
The favorite for the women’s Ballon d’Or award is widely considered to be Aitana Bonmati of the champion Spanish team. Her teammate Olga Carmona, who scored the decisive goal in the final, is also a nominee.
Jude Bellingham continues to make waves, as he is also on the shortlist for the men’s young player of the year award. Other candidates in contention for this honor include Rasmus Hojlund, a new signing for Manchester United from Denmark, as well as Barcelona trio Gavi, Pedri, and Alejandro Balde.
The race for goalkeeper of the year features Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale, who will vie for the award against Emi Martinez, Ederson of Manchester City, and Andre Onana, formerly of Inter Milan and now with Manchester United. All these exceptional talents will await the announcement of the winners at the awards ceremony in Paris on October 30.