Why Isn’t Lionel Messi Attending 2023 the Best FIFA Ceremony? Erling Haaland Favorite to Win Over Kylian Mbappe

Published 01/15/2024, 12:13 PM EST

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On Monday evening in London, FIFA will host the prestigious ‘The Best’ award ceremony for the 2022-23 season. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Lionel Messi, last year’s FIFA The Best winner, has reportedly chosen not to attend the event. What makes this move even more surprising is that he has done so despite being a finalist for FIFA The Men’s Best Player of the Year.

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Alongside Lionel Messi, the final three comprises Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and PSG’s Kylian Mbappe. While the Argentine maestro hasn’t publicly addressed his reasons for this decision, it isn’t tough to decipher the possible factors that influenced it.

The reason behind Lionel Messi’s FIFA The Best snub

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Lionel Messi, instead of attending the FIFA Best ceremony, has decided to stay in America as per DSportsAR. Instead, he will train with Inter Miami. This choice strongly suggests that the 36-year-old is not the winner of this year’s highly coveted trophy. Unlike last year’s Ballon d’Or win, where the eligibility criteria included the FIFA World Cup 2022, that cannot be a determining factor in this award.

During the eligibility period, Messi only secured a Ligue 1 victory and a Leagues Cup title, scoring 24 goals. On the other hand, Erling Haaland emerges as a strong candidate for the award. He possesses an impressive record of 28 goals during that same time frame and a triumphant treble achievement with Manchester City.

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It seems likely that Haaland may surpass even Kylian Mbappé, who only won a Ligue 1 during the eligibility period. That being said, Messi’s absence from the ceremony can be easily understood when taking into account his dedication to training with Inter Miami for the upcoming MLS season and the Riyadh Season Cup.

In addition, Inter Miami has a friendly match against El Salvador coming up in just a few days. Considering the travel involved, it’s understandable why Lionel Messi has chosen to skip the event. While the Inter Miami forward’s absence strongly indicates that he will not be winning his record-breaking third FIFA The Best award, this development is also likely to quell some of the controversy surrounding his nomination.

La Pulga not winning is sure to calm some masses

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The inclusion of Lionel Messi as one of the final three nominees sparked significant debate and controversy. Many argue that the 8x Ballon d’Or winner’s presence in the top three is unwarranted, with some analysts going so far as to ridicule this decision.

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In one instance, ESPN analyst Steve Nicol dismissed this decision asnonsense‘. Another analyst Nedum Onuoha also remarked, “Yeah, ridiculous. You know what I mean, people showing love to Messi, ridiculous.” However, with Messi most likely not winning the award, the decision will surely appease those who have been outraged by his nomination.

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What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by:

Saransh Chauhan

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My name is Saransh Chauhan and I am an experienced soccer writer at EssentiallySports. With over a year of experience at EssentiallySports, I have covered various aspects of the magnificent sport. While I strive to provide comprehensive coverage of core sports topics, I also explore off-court and entertainment subjects.
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Edited by:

Rohan Karnad

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