- The top five European leagues began in high-octane fashion, with top players laying their claim for the Ballon d'Or award
- The award for 2022 is already done and dusted with Karim Benzema set to win it, but he is yet to fully convince so far this season
- Lionel Messi has placed himself in the conversation once again in a year where the World Cup will greatly determine the winner
With the new top European league already two months in, the race for the 2023 Ballon d'Or is already taking shape. One might argue that it is still very early, but there have been irrefutable performances from some of the stars.
It is almost confirmed that Karim Benzema will win this year's gong after a breathtaking season with Real Madrid. Sports Brief looks at who could replace the Frenchman next year.
English manager on the verge of sack says it's hard for coaches ‘unless you’re gifted like Klopp or Guardiola’
6. Kevin De Bruyne
The Manchester City midfielder is enjoying a fruitful relationship with Erling Haaland that has already seen him bag eight assists in the Premier League. He continues to be the main piece of Pep Guardiola's side.
Exciting feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ find "Recommended for you" block and enjoy!
Given that it's a World Cup year, De Bruyne's Belgium will also be one of the outside favourites to win the trophy in Qatar.
5. Kylian Mbappe
He is always in the headlines and the heir apparent of the Lionel Messi-Cristiano Ronaldo throne. After a sluggish start to the season and lots of controversies, Mbappe is back in the goals and has since drawn level as Ligue 1's top scorer.
The World Cup could also work in his favour as he will look to defend a title he won four years ago.
4. Robert Lewandowski
New club, same old Lewagoalski. The new Barcelona striker has already turned the La Liga into his playground with 9 goals and 2 assists.
On paper, his Poland side doesn't stand a stance to win in Qatar, but if he could lead Barcelona back to continental glory, he could avenge his 2019 and 2020 losses.
3. Erling Haaland
Undoubtedly the most in-form player on the planet right now. The Norwegian has taken to Premier League life as easily as an ABC class.
His only major undoing is that he won't be in Qatar, but like Lewandowski, he will hinge his hopes on guiding Manchester City to the elusive Champions League title.
2. Lionel Messi
The serial winner has turned over a new leaf in his second season in Paris.
Whilst still predominantly a playmaker, Messi has shown why he has seven of the Ballon d'Or titles to his name. With his Argentina side looking strong ahead of Qatar, Messi might as well claim a record eighth title.
Fans slam Pep Guardiola for 'lying' Man City would never replace Sergio Aguero after Haaland's splendid start
An argument has been made that if Neymar could maintain his current form and remain fit, he might well land his first Ballon d'Or title.
Currently leading the scoring and assists charts jointly with his teammates in Ligue 1, Neymar will also need to inspire PSG and Brazil to the Champions League and World Cup respectively.
Messi's incredible ankle pass to Lionel Messi goes viral
Sports Brief had earlier reported that a video of Lionel Messi making an incredible ankle pass to Neymar during Paris Saint-Germain's clash with Nice on Saturday has dropped.
Messi has been in perfect shape for PSG this season, putting in impressive performances week in and week out.
The Argentine ace has already scored six times for PSG this season, with five of those goals coming in the French top-flight.