Who will succeed Karim Benzema and Alexias Putellas as the best player in the world? Monday evening at the Châtelet theater in Paris, France Football will award the precious Ballon d'Or to one of the 30 nominees. Three criteria are taken into account in the votes: individual performances, trophies won, and “the class of the player and his sense of fair play”. (For more information on the award criteria, follow this link). And certain indiscretions have already filtered out, giving clues about the winners and losers of this 67th men's edition, the 5th women's.
This 2022-2023 season was marked by the World Cups, for men in December 2022 and for women in the summer of 2023. Two global events which only take place every four years and which, historically, have often had an impact on the name of the winners (Zidane, Ronaldo, Cannavaro, etc.). And this 2023 edition should be no exception to the rule. Winner of the 2022 World Cup with the Albiceleste, Lionel Messi was the major architect of Argentina's victory, finishing as the best player in the competition. At PSG, the man who has already won the highest individual distinction seven times has scored 21 goals and provided 20 assists in 41 matches played. Statistics which should theoretically allow the “Pulga” to win its eighth Ballon d’Or, he who already no longer knows where to put them.
On the women's side, the World Cup should also have a preponderant importance in the choice of the winner. What could be more logical, then, than seeing a Spaniard win? Voted best player of the World Cup, helped by her three goals scored, Aitana Bonmati also shone at club level. With FC Barcelona, she won the Champions League and a fourth consecutive Spanish championship. Unless there is a surprise, there should therefore be no suspense.
Around Messi, the battle rages to get on the podium. And there are indications that Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappé will occupy the second and third steps of the podium. Monstrous at club this season, the Scandinavian played 53 matches for 52 goals and 9 assists. Including twelve achievements in the Champions League. Despite these figures and the record displayed with Manchester City (treble achieved with the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup won), the Norwegian could pay a dear price for his absence at the World Cup, his country not being qualified.
Kylian Mbappé is also coming off a very successful season with 41 goals scored in 43 matches played at club. His performances at the World Cup were obviously very remarkable, he who finished top scorer (8 goals scored) with a hat-trick which brought the whole of France to its feet in the final. However, “KM7” “only” won Ligue 1. The early elimination of the capital club in the round of 16 of the Champions League against Bayern, and in the Coupe de France against rival Marseille do not play a role. in his favour.
Of the thirty players nominated for the Golden Ball, four are of French nationality: Benzema, Griezmann, Mbappé and Kolo Muani. Among these, Mbappé will obviously be part of the top 10. But Antoine Griezmann, voted best player in La Liga and star player of the World Cup for the Blues, could also be in the first third of this list. His 15 goals and 16 assists in La Liga are in any case an argument in this sense. Winner of the 2022 Ballon d'Or, Benzema can also hope to reach the doors of the Top 10, but his meager record last season (a UEFA Super Cup) does not speak in his favor.
Last season, Pep Guardiola's men had an extraordinary season. It's simple, the Skyblues won all the competitions in which they were involved by achieving the famous treble. This stunning record is reflected in the list of thirty, since six City players are included: Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias, Ilkay Gündogan, Erling Haaland, Rodri and Bernardo Silva. Everyone can claim a place in the top 10, including Rodri, the only scorer in the Champions League final. Gündogan, captain of the troops, and De Bruyne, flamboyant playmaker, are also serious candidates. Answer to all these questions this evening at the Théâtre du Châtelet.