5 Lionel Messi Rivals Who Are Supporting the Inter Miami Star to Win His 8th Ballon D’or Over Erling Haaland & Kylian Mbappe

Published 10/30/2023, 6:23 AM EDT

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Lionel Messi‘s journey in the beautiful game has been a treat to watch. Winning countless trophies, the Argentine has garnered applause from every nook and corner. As Messi inches closer to his 8th Ballon d’Or, five rivals turn into fans as they pick La Pulga for the most prestigious individual award in soccer.

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Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe are the second and third favorites for the accolade. Erling Haaland, though, has many pundits on his team, who back him up to be the destined winner for the award, citing his treble-winning season with Manchester City.

Lionel Messi winning the hearts of his rivals

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Pep Guardiola has been a friend at Barcelona and a foe when he left Catalonia to join Bayern Munich and Manchester City in the years that followed. However, when asked who would he pick to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or, he had a reply that many would agree with. The Manchester City boss stated that there should be a separate award for Messi.

Guardiola in a press conference said, “I’ve always said that the Ballon d’Or should have two sections, one for Messi, and then we have to look for another one. So Haaland should win yes, but of course Messi, if you tell me about his worst season, it’s still the best from the rest of the players.” Manchester City players Rodri and Bernardo Silva, who both played at the World Cup with Spain, shared the same stance.

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As per Rodri, he thinks Messi should win the award. When asked about the same, Silva said, “What Messi did at the World Cup was exceptional. He deserves to win the Ballon d’Or”. Former Bayern Munich CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, whose side faced many defeats at the hands of the Argentine, also had the same opinion as he said, “I think this year it’s Messi’s turn again because he won the World Cup. I think he played a truly exceptional tournament.”

Erling Haaland’s ‘Manchester City Looks More Vulnerable’ Against Manchester United, Says Analyst Before Manchester Derby

Soccer royalty and Brazil’s legendary striker, Ronaldo Nazario, was adamant in his support of Messi and compared his World Cup win to Pele and Maradona. He expressed that there’s no doubt that Messi should win the award. However, not all are on the same page. A few Premier League icons are on the side of Team Erling Haaland.

Erling Haaland supporters have his back

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Former Tottenham defender, Jason Cundy, passionately voiced his stance on the Ballon d’Or. He boldly claimed that if Erling Haaland failed to secure the prestigious award, it would be an utter disgrace. Cundy speculated that Lionel Messi’s victory could be attributed to his World Cup triumph.

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The former defender didn’t hold back, openly questioning Messi’s accomplishments at PSG, while Scott Richards, a talkSPORT pundit, defended the Argentinian superstar’s World Cup win. Joining the chorus of Haaland supporters, Craig Burley threw his weight behind the young Norwegian’s candidacy, underscoring his extraordinary season filled with a multitude of goals and numerous titles.

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Norwegian legend, Jan Age Fjortoft, jumped on the Haaland bandwagon, lauding his exceptional goal-scoring prowess and impressive achievements. The stage is set for the Ballon d’Or as all will be revealed in just a matter of time.

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Written by:

Neil Banerjee

343Articles

One take at a time

Neil has found his niche as a soccer writer at EssentiallySports. With a background in media studies, he possesses a deep appreciation for the intricacies, the strategies and the awe-inspiring nature of the beautiful game, firmly believing that a variety of factors underpin each match. As a devoted Chelsea fan, Neil's passion extends to diving into the stories that surround the club and finding intriguing narratives.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra

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