Ballon d’Or: Osimhen Becomes First Nigerian Nominated Since Kanu Back in 1999

Ballon d’Or: Osimhen Becomes First Nigerian Nominated Since Kanu Back in 1999

Babajide Orevba
updated at September 7, 2023 at 7:41 AM
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V. Osimhen
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  • Victor Osimhen has earned a nomination as a contender for this year’s Ballon d’Or award
  • The 24-year-old becomes the first Nigerian up for the prize since Kanu Nwankwo in 1999
  • Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland are leading contenders for the coveted individual award

Nigerian international, Victor Osimhen will compete with the likes of Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland for this year's Ballon d'Or award.

He became the first Nigerian to be nominated for the prestigious prize since Nwankwo Kanu in 1999.

The Napoli striker scored 26 Serie A goals last season to lead the Partenopei to the Scudetto for the first time in more than three decades.

Victor Osimhen, Super Eagles, Napoli, Ballon d'Or
Victor Osimhen has been nominated for the 2023 Ballon d'Or. Photo: MB Media
Source: Getty Images

He was also instrumental for the club with his five goals in the UEFA Champions League helping the Italian outfit to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the very first time.

On the international scene, Osimhen helped Nigeria to secure a place at the Africa Cup of Nations with seven goals in the qualifiers so far - two more than Senegal star, Sadio Mane.

World Cup winner, Lionel Messi also made the list alongside Erling Haaland who had a debut season to remember for Manchester City, having scooped the treble and broken numerous records in the process.

The last time a Nigerian was nominated for the Ballon d’Or award was in 1999 when Arsenal’s Nwankwo Kanu received two votes alongside Ronaldo Nazario and Hernan Crespo.

In 1996, Papilo received 14 award votes, putting him ahead of the 1995 winner, George Weah and above the likes of Gabriel Batistuta, Raul and Didier Deschamps, as GOAL reports.

Full list of 2023 Ballon d’Or nominees

  • Josko Gvardiol
  • Jamal Musiala
  • Andre Onana
  • Karim Benzema
  • Mohamed Salah
  • Bukayo Saka
  • Kevin De Bruyne
  • Jude Bellingham
  • Randal Kolo Muani
  • Bernardo Silva
  • Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
  • Nicolo Barella
  • Emi Martinez
  • Ruben Dias
  • Erling Haaland
  • Martin Odegaard
  • Ilkay Gundogan
  • Yassine Bounou
  • Julian Alvarez
  • Vinicius Junior
  • Rodri
  • Antoine Griezmann
  • Lionel Messi
  • Lautaro Martinez
  • Robert Lewandowski
  • Kim Min-jae
  • Luka Modric
  • Kylian Mbappe
  • Victor Osimhen
  • Harry Kane.

Fans divided over who should win Ballon d’Or

Sports Brief also reported on fans being divided on whether Messi or Haaland deserves to win this year's Ballon d'Or after the Man City ace picked up the UEFA Best Player Award recently.

The Norwegian scooped the prestigious trophy after an impressive debut season in the Premier League. This has sparked debate about who the favourite for the coveted individual prize is.

Why Messi will beat Haaland

Sports Brief also previously reported on why Messi will beat Haaland to the 2023 Ballon d'Or award.

The main reason why the Argentine star will claim his record-extending eighth title is his World Cup win.

Messi was a key factor for La Albiceleste, scoring crucial goals throughout his nation's campaign in Qatar.

Babajide Orevba photo
Babajide Orevba
Babajide Orevba is a CAF accredited Nigerian journalist and HOD of the Local Desk with over 10 years of experience in media landscape.He studied NCE Political Science/Social Studies, AOCOED.