Rodri Says ‘Immortal’ Lionel Messi Deserved the Ballon d’Or Over Erling Haaland

Published 12/31/2023, 8:17 AM EST

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After Lionel Messi‘s eighth Ballon d’Or trophy win, the soccer fraternity is divided after the fresh victory of the Argentine sensation. Recently, Manchester City’s ace midfielder Rodri decided to go in favor of Messi, despite Erling Haaland’s heroics last season. But what made him snub his teammate for the Argentine captain?

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Rodri expressed his joy at being in the top thirty-player list and claimed that the top four players above him were immortal. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, and Kylian Mbappe were labeled as immortals along with Lionel Messi by the Spanish international. 

Speaking to AS, Rodri said, “I was the first on the list of mortal people, as they say. The current level of football is so high. We came from a World Cup that Argentina had won, and that’s why Messi deserved it.” 

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Rodri himself finished 5th on the rankings after a tremendous performance in the 2022–2023 season. The defensive midfielder was instrumental in dictating the play from the center of the pitch and scored the only match-winning goal in the Champions League final. Hence, following the award closely, Rodri felt Messi deserved the award for spectacular performances. 

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Claiming Messi to be one immortal, Rodri said that the World Cup was the main reason for Messi deserving his 8th Ballon d’Or. But Rodri also made a point about Mbappe and Haaland’s extraordinary efforts.

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Why Rodri chose Lionel Messi over Erling Haaland

Rodri continued, “But we’re talking about Mbappé or Haaland, who score 40 or 50 goals.” The 27-year-old says that both the Norwegian and the French star also qualify as immortals because of their heavy goal-scoring ability.

Rightly so, Erling Haaland took the Premier League by surprise with goals since his arrival. The former Borussia Dortmund striker scored 52 goals, leading Manchester City to their first-ever treble. Mbappe, on the other hand, could also be considered unlucky, as he scored 41 goals. The French star won the 2022 World Cup Golden Boot with a tremendous hat-trick in the final. The star also won the Ligue 1 by top-scoring with 29 goals.

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Kevin De Bruyne, on the other hand, also had a magnificent 2022–23 season. His creative gameplay was one main reason for City’s success. Apart from 10 goals, the player gathered 28 assists for Pep Guardiola’s team, which was the highest in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Nonetheless, Rodri provided the reason for claiming Messi as the deserved Ballon d’Or winner.

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Written by:

Ruthu

591Articles

One take at a time

Growing up in a sporting background, I found a passion for soccer through the remarkable 2002 World Cup-winning Brazilian football team. Watching the Premier League where Thierry Henry-starring ‘Invincible’ Gunners and Sir Alex Ferguson’s glorious Manchester United had ruled, I had my heart set on Arsenal. However, Ronaldo Nazario, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho are my favorite players and Lionel Messi is the GOAT.
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Edited by:

Jacob Gijy

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