Ballon d’Or 2023: Voice of Nigeria’s Top Picks
With the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony set to take place in just over a month, Voice of Nigeria highlights the top candidates for the coveted award presented by France Football magazine, that will honour the best footballer of the 2022-2023 season on October 30th.
The Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious individual award in the world of football. Every player aspires to reach the mountain top once they embark on their careers and the Ballon d’Or represents exactly that.
The race for the 2023 Ballon d’Or has been exciting, with top performances from players across the top five leagues in Europe. Voice of Nigeria highlights the top 5 favourites for the prestigious award this year.
Super Eagles of Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen cemented his legacy in Napoli’s history last season by turning in one of the best individual campaigns of his career, firing the Serie A side to its first Scudetto title in 33 years.
Osimhen has now established himself as one of the finest strikers on the planet, scoring 31 goals and providing five assists in 39 appearances across all competitions for Napoli last season.
French international and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe was on fire for both club and country last season. In the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Frenchman scored eight goals, including a hat-trick in the final match against Argentina, which earned Mbappe the Golden Boot at the tournament.
Mbappe also scored 41 goals and provided 10 assists in 43 appearances across all competitions for PSG last season. He won the French Ligue 1 title last season.
Spanish and Manchester City midfielder Rodri has been exceptional at the base of Manchester City’s midfield for several seasons now.
However, Rodri was on a different level last season as his reliability produced a number of brilliant performances over the course of the 2022/2023 campaign. He scored the winner for Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final against Inter Milan last season.
In England, Rodri also won the Premier League title and the FA Cup in England with Manchester City, in addition to winning the UEFA Nations League with Spain in the summer. The 27-year-old is very likely to end up on the Ballon d’Or podium this year.
Norwegian international and Manchester City prolific striker Erling Haaland was one of the stand-out players last season in Europe.
After joining Manchester City in the summer of 2022, Haaland showcased his elite marksmanship to terrorise defences all across Europe. He scored 52 goals and produced nine (9) assists in 53 appearances to fire City to a continental treble last season.
The 23-year-old also won the European Golden Shoe. He is set to compete for the coveted Ballon d’Or title with a certain Argentine, who made a move to USA’s Major League Soccer this summer.
Argentine and Inter Miami sensation Lionel Messi is set to feature on the podium of the Ballon d’Or once again after firing Argentina to glory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Messi won the Golden Ball at the World Cup, awarded to the best player in the tournament ahead of Kylian Mbappe of France. The Argentina football legend was also instrumental in helping PSG win the French Ligue 1 title last season.
He scored 21 goals and provided 20 assists in 41 appearances in all competitions for PSG last season. Messi is the favourite for this year’s ceremony and could possibly win a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or title after a brilliant campaign.
Chidi Nwoke/Pedro Onyewuchi.