Argentina Boss Lionel Scaloni Hits Back at Critics Questioning Messi’s 8th Ballon d’Or Success

Argentina Boss Lionel Scaloni Hits Back at Critics Questioning Messi’s 8th Ballon d’Or Success

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
November 16, 2023 at 6:33 AM
  • Lionel Scaloni has responded to critics doubting Lionel Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or triumph
  • Messi edged Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to win the 2023 Golden Ball prize
  • A section of the football community argued that Haaalnd should have won the coveted diadem

Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni has finally addressed critics who doubted the authenticity of Lionel Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or victory.

Messi, instrumental in leading La Albiceleste to World Cup glory in Qatar, secured the Golden Ball award for an unprecedented eighth time, surpassing competition from Erling Haaland and former Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe.

Lionel Scaloni, Lionel Messi, Argentina, Ballon d'Or
Lionel Scaloni is not happy with critics raising doubts over Lionel Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or triumph. Photos by Daniel Jayo and Pascal Le Segretain
Source: Getty Images

Ballon d'Or: Messi vs Haaland debate

While the Argentine maestro displayed an impressive performance during the international tournament, his club-level achievements fell somewhat short, with only the French Ligue 1 title to boast after PSG's European aspirations came up short yet again.

Haaland, Messi's closest competitor in the Ballon d'Or race, lagged behind by 105 points in the final rankings, per One Football. He ultimately settled for the Gerd Muller Trophy, honouring the year's best striker.

The Norwegian's exceptional goal-scoring records while aiding Manchester City in achieving a historic treble last season led some in the football community to question the justification of Messi's unprecedented win at the prestigious event held at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Scaloni tackles Messi's doubters

Despite the attempts to undermine Messi's victory, his Argentina teammates and now his national team head coach have staunchly defended him.

In response to the scepticism raised by detractors, Scaloni, who ended Argentina's 28-year title drought by winning the 2021 Copa America, outrightly dismissed suggestions that the 2023 Golden Ball award should have been bestowed elsewhere, maintaining Messi's deserving claim to the accolade.

"I don't really understand those who debate Leo's Ballon d'Or," Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has told the media, as quoted by Tribuna.
He continued: "I imagine it because they want to generate a debate, but I no longer believe there is one debate left anymore."

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Di Maria slams Matthaus for Ballon d'Or claim

In a related publication, Sports Brief reported that Angel Di Maria took to Instagram to hit back at Lothar Matthaus for his comments suggesting that Lionel Messi did not merit his Ballon d'Or victory.

Matthaus, a former recipient of the esteemed award in 1990, denounced the decision to award Messi his record-extending eighth Golden Ball Award as a "farce".

The Argentine, who is Messi's teammate in the national team, responded to the legendary German player's criticism of the Ballon d'Or selection.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.
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