Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi Names 4 Players He Thinks Will Challenge for the Next Award

Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi Names 4 Players He Thinks Will Challenge for the Next Award

Fred Kennedy
March 30, 2024 at 11:00 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
L.Messi
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Inter Miami CF logo
Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
United States
27
FC Barcelona logo
FC Barcelona
Spain
35
Paris Saint Germain (PSG) logo
PSG
France
33
Erling Braut Haaland logo
E.Haaland
Manchester City logoFNorway logo
k.mbappe
Paris Saint Germain (PSG) logoF-
  • Lionel Messi has backed four players to challenge for the next Ballon d'Or
  • The veteran forward has won the Ballon d'Or award on eight occasions
  • Messi's last triumph came during the 2023 edition of the award in Paris

Lionel Messi has named four players that he believes will challenge for the next Ballon d'Or award.

The Inter Miami superstar is the record holder of the prestigious prize, having carted it home on eight occasions.

Messi won the award for the first time in his career in 2009 during his time with Barcelona.

Lionel Messi poses onstage after winning his sixth Ballon d'Or award at Theatre Du Chatelet. Photo by Kristy Sparow.
Lionel Messi poses onstage after winning his sixth Ballon d'Or award at Theatre Du Chatelet. Photo by Kristy Sparow.
Source: Getty Images

He went on to bag seven more, with his latest coming during the 2023 edition after he led Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar.

At the time, SPORTbible reports that he beat stiff competition from the likes of Manchester City hotshot Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe to win the coveted prize.

However, it is unlikely Messi will challenge for the Ballon d'Or again, especially considering that he has entered the sunset years of his career.

Four players who can challenge for Ballon d'Or

Given his experience, the 36-year-old surely knows what it takes to be crowned the winner of the Ballon d'Or.

The Argentina international has now named four players that he believes have what it takes to challenge for the prize.

As per L'Equipe, the Barcelona legend said Haaland and Mbappe are among the favourites for the award.

The veteran forward also backed Real Madrid ace Vinicius Jr to be in the frame for the prestigious crown, alongside fast-rising Barcelona star Lamine Yamal.

"The players to compete for the Ballon d’Or in the coming years? There may be a very beautiful rivalry in the coming years with players like Haaland, Mbappe, Vinicius and many young players competing for the Ballon d'Or," he said.
"I also think that Lamine Yamal, who is still very young and now plays for Barcelona, ​​will play a prominent role and fight for it in the future too," he added.

History's biggest Ballon d'Or 'robberies'

Sports Brief also reported on the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in the 'weird' month of December, sparking unprecedented debate ahead of the 2023 Ballon d'Or race.

The World Cup is often a strong indicator of who will win, with Messi believed to be leading the race for the coveted gong, yet Haaland has since immersed himself in the debate.

There is no doubt the 2023 race to the top individual prize in football will be a heated one, but what are some of the most controversial Ballon d'Or decisions in awards history?

Authors
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Fred Kennedy
Fred Kennedy has a Bachelor's degree in journalism (Daystar University), currently working as a Sports Editor. He has more than five years of experience in digital journalism.