Ballon d’Or 2023: Ranking The 10 Favorites To Win The Award

Barcelona Have 12 Ballon d'Or Awards
Barcelona Have 12 Ballon d'Or Awards

On Wednesday, September 6th, France Football announced the 30-man shortlist for the 2023 Ballon d’Or. Argentina and Inter Miami superstar Lionel Messi, Manchester City’s Norwegian sharpshooter Erling Haaland, and Paris Saint-Germain and France powerhouse Kylian Mbappe have all made the cut. Karim Benzema, who won the 2022 Ballon d’Or, and 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric also feature on the list.

Aforementioned names aside, there are 25 more players who performed superbly over the last year, making the 2023 Ballon d’Or race a hotly contested affair. Today, we will take a look at the 10 stars who stood out and rank them according to their chances of headlining the 67th Ballon d’Or ceremony on October 30th. Let’s begin!

#10 Harry Kane

Harry Kane Could Secure A Top-10 Finish In 2023 Ballon d'Or
Harry Kane Celebrating After Scoring for Tottenham Hotspur

Bayern Munich ace Harry Kane performed remarkably for Tottenham Hotspur in the 2022-23 English Premier League campaign, scoring a whopping 30 goals and providing three assists in 38 matches, emerging as the division’s second-highest scorer. He was in fine form for England at the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well, netting twice and providing three assists as the Three Lions reached the quarter-finals.

He did not manage to win a trophy, however, which could deny him a top-five finish in the 2023 Ballon d’Or.

#9 Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia Could Break Into 10 man 2023 Ballon d'Or Shortlist
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia Was One Of The Best Players Of The 2022-23 Season

Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia turned out to be one of the breakthrough players of the 2022-23 season. The winger dazzled fans with his mazey runs, ingenious link-up play, and unmatched creativity. The Georgian left-winger appeared in 34 Serie A matches for Napoli last season, scoring an impressive 12 times and providing 13 assists. His goals and assists proved to be invaluable as Napoli won the Serie A title for the first time since the 1989-90 season.

Kvaratskhelia was heavily linked with a move away from Naples over the summer, but he refused to quit the team that gave him prominence after just one successful season.

#8 Vinicius Junior

Vinicius Junior Could Secure A Top-10 Finish In 2023 Ballon d'Or
Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior Is Arguably The Best Player In La Liga

Real Madrid failed to win the two biggest trophies on offer, La Liga and the UEFA Champions League, in the 2022-23 season. However, it certainly was not down to a lack of effort from their dynamite left-winger Vinicius Junior. The jet-heeled Brazilian enjoyed his best-ever campaign on a personal level, scoring 23 times and providing 21 assists in 55 games across competitions. He pitched in with three goals and four assists in five Copa del Rey matches as Los Blancos won the cup for the first time since 2014.

The 23-year-old was in impressive form for Brazil at the 2022 FIFA World Cup as well, scoring once and claiming two assists in four matches. Vinicius probably will not be able to crack the top five this time around, but he certainly did enough last season to be included in the 10-man list.

#7 Rodri

Manchester City Midfielder Rodri Could Finish Inside Top 10 In 2023 Ballon d'Or
Manchester City Midfielder Scored The Winner In The 2023 Champions League Final

Manchester City defensive midfielder Rodri was in sensational form as the English outfit won their first-ever Treble (FA Cup, Premier League, Champions League) in the 2022-23 season. Not only did he dictate play with his immaculate passing, but he also popped up with the most important goal for Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final against Inter Milan. It was his sensational strike in the 68th minute that allowed City to clinch a hard-fought victory over the Nerazzurri. The Spaniard’s heroics were duly rewarded, as he deservedly won the Champions League’s Player Of The Season award.

Rodri played 56 matches for the Cityzens in all competitions last term, netting four times and providing seven assists. The midfielder also played four games for Spain at the 2022 FIFA World Cup but failed to score or assist.

#6 Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski Should Claim A Top-10 Finish In The 2023 Ballon d'Or
Robert Lewandowski Is The Leading Active Scorer In UEFA Champions League (91 Goals)

After grueling rounds of negotiations, Robert Lewandowski finally joined Barcelona from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2022. The Polish striker hit the ground running at Barcelona, scoring a league-best 23 goals in 34 matches and winning the Pichichi Trophy. His ruthlessness in front of goal helped the Blaugrana to the La Liga title.

Lewandowski scored five times in as many matches in the UEFA Champions League, but could not save the Catalans from a group-stage exit. Likewise, he scored twice and claimed an assist for Poland at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but stood helpless as his team endured a round-of-16 exit to France.

#5 Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen Could Secure A Top-Five Finish In The 2023 Ballon d'Or
Victor Osimhen Scored 26 League Goals For Napoli Last Season

One of the most sought-after strikers in the world, Victor Osimhen played like a man possessed in the 2022-23 season. The Napoli sharpshooter not only scored a plethora of goals, but he also did it when his team were in dire need of them. Throughout the 2022-23 Serie A season, Osimhen scored 26 times and provided five assists in 32 matches, emerging as the league’s top scorer. Had it not been for his timely goals, Napoli would not have won their third Italian top-flight title last season.

Osimhen has enjoyed an explosive start to the 2023-24 campaign as well, scoring thrice in as many Serie A games.

#4 Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne Could Miss Out On A Podium Finish At The 2023 Ballon d'Or
Kevin De Bruyne Is City’s All-Time Highest Assist Provider (153 Assists)

Arguably the best midfielder in the world at the moment, Kevin De Bruyne should fancy cracking the top five in this year’s Ballon d’Or. The Belgian maestro was unplayable for Manchester City in the 2022-23 season, creating chances out of thin air and scoring some absolute scorchers. Playing 49 games across competitions, De Bruyne scored 10 times and provided 31 assists, helping City to a historic Treble. Claiming 16 assists in 32 games, De Bruyne won the Premier League Playmaker Award last season.

De Bruyne, unfortunately, could not replicate his magic for Belgium at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, failing to score or assist as the Red Devils endured a shocking group-stage exit. His sub-par performance for Belgium could cost him a podium finish at the 2023 Ballon d’Or.

#3 Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe Could Finish Inside Top-3 In 2023 Ballon d'Or
Mbappe Scored Eight Times For France At The 2022 FIFA World Cup

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and France superstar Kylian Mbappe could deservedly secure a podium finish at the 2023 Ballon d’Or. He was France’s best player by a country mile at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scoring a tournament-high eight goals in seven matches as Les Bleus made it to the final. The Golden Boot winner famously scored a hat-trick against Argentina in the final and converted his penalty in the shootout, but still could not save France from the heartbreak.

He also emerged as PSG’s best player in the 2022-23 season, scoring 29 times and claiming six assists in 34 Ligue 1 matches as Les Parisiens claimed the title. He unfortunately failed to live up to the billing in the UEFA Champions League as PSG suffered a round-of-16 exit.

#2 Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland Has A Realistic Chance Of Winning The 2023 Ballon d'Or
Erling Haaland Won The Champions League With Manchester City Last Season

Arguably the best striker in the world, Erling Haaland, reached numerous milestones in his debut season at Manchester City. He scored a whopping 36 goals in 35 Premier League matches, breaking the record for most goals scored in a single league season in England (38-game format). He also became the first Manchester City player to win the European Golden Shoe. And if those were not impressive enough, he became only the third player in history, behind Luiz Adriano and Lionel Messi, to score five goals in a single Champions League game.

Haaland, who recently won the UEFA Player Of The Season award, scored 52 times and claimed nine assists in 53 matches across competitions, helping City become only the second English team, behind Manchester United, to win the Treble. He has enjoyed an explosive start to the 2023-24 campaign as well, scoring six times in just four Premier League matches. The Norwegian has every right to be disappointed if he does not win the Ballon d’Or this year.

#1 Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi Is The Favorite To Win The 2023 Ballon d'Or
Messi Scored Seven Goals At The 2022 FIFA World Cup

Unfortunately for Erling Haaland, his exploits came in a World Cup year, in a year when Lionel Messi finally lifted the coveted trophy with Argentina. The 36-year-old cannot hold a candle to Haaland’s exploits at a club level, scoring just 21 times and providing 20 assists in 41 matches across competitions. However, he well and truly made up for it by turning up for Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Messi scored a staggering seven times in seven games in the tournament, including twice in the win over France in the final. In addition to scoring as many, he also claimed three assists, emerging as the tournament’s best player and winning the Golden Ball award. Having guided Argentina to their first World Cup in 36 years, Messi would fancy himself winning the Ballon d’Or for a record eighth time on October 30th.

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