Lewandowski 4th, Mbappe 2nd… the top 5 favorites for the 2023 Ballon d’Or

The Ballon d’Or is football’s most prestigious individual award. It is awarded by the French magazine “France Football” to the best performing individual of the season.

The Ballon d’Or winner is chosen based on a combination of votes from media representatives, national team captains and coaches.

Karim Benzema won the coveted award in 2022. The race for the 2023 Ballon d’Or has truly begun and the results of the 2022 FIFA World Cup are expected to have a huge influence on the outcome.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five favorites for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

#5 Neymar Jr. (Brazil/Paris Saint-Germain)

Neymar Jr. was arguably the fittest player in the world during the first two months of the 2022-23 season. The Brazilian international seemed to have gone back in time delivering world-class performances for Paris Saint-Germain week after week.

However, Neymar saw his World Cup dream cut short at the quarter-final stage. He has struggled with form and fitness throughout the tournament, but his numbers for PSG continue to be exemplary.

In 25 appearances in all competitions for the Parisians since the start of the season, Neymar has scored 17 goals and provided 15 assists.

#4 Robert Lewandowski (Poland/Barcelona)

Real Betis v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

Robert Lewandowski struggled to find his stride for Poland at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Lewandowski had a tough time in what could be his last World Cup but he was on fire at one club. The 34-year-old moved to FC Barcelona from Bayern Munich last summer.

He has shown Barca what they have been lacking in the offensive sphere over the past two seasons. Lewandowski was prolific in front of goal and his form propelled the club to the top of the La Liga table.

Lewandowski has been a serious contender for the Ballon d’Or in recent years and is likely to be again in 2023. In 25 appearances in all competitions for FC Barcelona since the start of the season, the Polish icon has scored 23 goals and provided five assists.

#3 Erling Haaland (Norway/Manchester City)

Manchester City v Arsenal: Emirates FA Cup fourth round

Norway’s failure to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup could have hampered Erling Haaland’s chances in the 2023 Ballon d’Or race. But he’s making a big deal out of season-serving at his new club Manchester City.

Haaland is a goalscoring machine and has taken the Premier League by storm this season. The 22-year-old has already had 31 goals and three assists in 27 appearances in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side this season.

If Haaland can pick up some major trophies with City this year, he could just win the Ballon d’Or.

#2 Kylian Mbappe (France/Paris Saint-Germain)

Argentina v France: Final - Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup

You must have compassion for Kylian Mbappé. The 24-year-old scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final but failed to put France across the line. Mbappe won the Golden Boot of the tournament and was also in sublime form for PSG.

He has scored 25 goals and six assists in 26 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain since the start of the season.

The Frenchman is likely to win some major trophies this season, which should boost his chances in the Ballon d’Or race. But the fact that the main Ballon d’Or contender is his teammate, Lionel Messi, doesn’t help.

#1 Lionel Messi (Argentina/Paris Saint-Germain)

Paris Saint-Germain-Riyadh XI - Winter Tour 2023, second day

Lionel Messi is on his way to winning his eighth Ballon d’Or. He led Argentina to World Cup glory and won the Golden Ball awarded to the best player of the tournament. Messi has been in commanding form, scoring seven goals and providing three assists in the World Cup.

He’s also in unreal form with PSG this year. The 35-year-old has scored 14 goals and 14 assists in 23 appearances in all competitions for Christopher Galtier’s side since the start of the season.

If Messi continues this momentum, he is likely to take the top step of the Ballon d’Or podium.


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