Why Messi deserved the Ballon dOr: One of the biggest questions going around the world of football right now is “Did Lionel Messi really deserve the Ballon d’Or?”
Why Messi deserved the Ballon dOr
Of course, Messi fans will tell you that he did, but did he really? Well, that’s what we’re here to look at today. Ladies and gentlemen, this is why Messi deserves the Ballon d’Or.
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First of all, he won the World Cup
Say whatever you want about that competition, but it is the apex of football as we know it. It is every player’s dream to one day win the World Cup with their national team. And the fact that it comes just once every four years makes the stakes a lot higher.
But not only did Messi go ahead to win it, he won it in the greatest way ever. He got into that tournament with an ache in his heart and pressure on his shoulders. He had lost a final before, so he knew firsthand how brutal the competition could be. Then guess what! He goes on to lose the first game of the tournament. So, the ache got more painful and the pressure definitely got a lot worse.
But with all that pressure, Lionel Messi managed to captain Argentina to victory, scoring in every round of the competition, winning the Man of the Match award in 5 of the 7 games he played in, and ending the competition with the Golden Ball and the Silver Boot.
He also broke a lot of records at that tournament: most Man of the Match awards in World Cup history in a single World Cup tournament; the First player to win 2 World Cup Golden Balls; the first player to provide, at least, one assist in 5 different World Cup tournaments; first player in history to score in every round of a World Cup tournament…
We could really go on and on with these records, but the point is clear – Messi won the 2022 World Cup as the outright best player, and that is definitely a huge deal.
The closest thing to Messi’s 2022 World Cup campaign in recent history is Ronaldo Nazario’s 2002 World Cup campaign. And if Ronaldo could win the Ballon d’Or that year despite having played just 836 minutes of club football in the preceding season, then Messi deserves to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or.
I mean, Ronaldo played the equivalent of 9 full games in a whole season due to injury. He didn’t even participate in the World Cup qualifiers at all with Brazil. But because of his dazzling performances at the World Cup itself, he won the Ballon d’Or. That’s to show you how very highly the World Cup is rated for these awards.
And let’s not even act like Messi was absent on club level in the 2022-23 season. He actually balled for PSG! Yes, he didn’t manage to get past the round of 16 in the Champions League, but he won the Ligue 1 and Trophee des Champions. And he wasn’t just a passenger in all of this.
He had 8 goal contributions in 7 Champions League games and 32 goal contributions in 32 appearances in the league for PSG. He finished as the player with the most assists in the Ligue 1, and that unsurprisingly earned him a spot in the Ligue 1 Team of the Season. In fact, he was the highest-rated player in the league that season. So, one thing we’re not going to do is act like Messi’s club performances were rubbish just because of an early Champions League exit.
I mean, this guy was top 5 in both goal contributions and chances created from open play in Europe’s top 5 leagues in the 2022-23 season. He was top 3 for big chances created and the top 2 for most dribbles completed. Nah, it should be a crime to say that Messi was absent at club level in the 2022-23 season.
But we know what many of you are saying right now and we agree; all of this we have said about Messi’s performances and achievements at PSG pales in comparison to what Erling Haaland did for Manchester City in the 2022-23 season.
Completing the European treble in your first season at the club? Winning the Premier League Golden Boot, Premier League Player of the Season, PFA Player of the Year, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, Champions League top scorer, European Golden Shoe, while also breaking numerous records in England and across Europe? That’s an insane season right there. And honestly, in any other season, Haaland would have walked to the Ballon d’Or.
But in a World Cup year, we all know the scope expands in order to accommodate the biggest competition in the world. And one thing that really hurt Haaland’s Ballon d’Or chances was his absence at the tournament.
The lethal goalscorer was unable to secure Norway a ticket to the 2022 World Cup and that landed a huge blow to his chances. I mean, how could you possibly give the Ballon d’Or to a player who was literally absent at the World Cup when there’s a worthy candidate who went all the way at the tournament and also had a decent season with his club?
Let’s put it this way – Erling Haaland had a 10/10 club season, but on the international stage, it was a 1/10, at best. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi had a 10/10 international campaign but let’s say he was a 5/10 at club level. That puts Messi comfortably ahead overall.
And don’t get this wrong, guys! This is taking absolutely nothing from the season Haaland had. You can have your reservations about the man’s style of play, but when you score an unprecedented number of goals and those goals help your team win trophies, then you can stake a claim for being one of the best players in the world.
But when there’s another man who won the league, put up pretty good numbers at club level, and then went on to win the biggest competition in the world of football as the undisputed best player, then you just have to name that man the best player in the world, because, frankly, that’s what he has proven to be.
So, we have given our reasons why Lionel Messi deserved the 2023 Ballon d’Or. If you want to make a counterclaim or just want to corroborate what we have said in this video, feel free to do just that in the comments.