FIFA BALLON D'OR
Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot says Inter Miami star Lionel Messi doesn’t deserve the Ballon d’Or
Rabiot’s France lost to Messi’s Argentina in the World Cup final but he believes Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland would be more deserving winners.
Inter Miami playmaker Lionel Messi has been installed as the red-hot favourite to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the eighth time following Argentina’s 2022 World Cup triumph. However, Adrien Rabiot, who featured against the 36-year-old in the final for France, is having none of it, with the Juventus midfielder convinced compatriot Kylian Mbappé or Manchester City striker Erling Haaland will win their first award.
Messi wowed most onlookers with his influential displays in Qatar, leading his country to their first World Cup win in 36 years in what may well have been his final appearance in the tournament. The ex-Barcelona superstar has also made a huge initial impact at Inter Miami, helping his team win their first ever trophy, the 2023 Leagues Cup, but was unable to inspire former club Paris Saint-Germain past the Champions League round of 16 in between, which drew plenty of criticism.
“In sporting terms, Mbappé or Haaland will win”
And Rabiot appears to be among the naysayers. Speaking to French broadcaster RMC Sport, the PSG academy product said: “I keep hearing that Messi’s going to do it. But in sporting terms, it should be between Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland. It’s difficult to pick one over the other, it depends what you base it on. Not everyone will agree, but it’ll be between those two.”
Mbappé and Messi are, of course, inextricably linked. As former club teammates, they led the Parisians to the Ligue 1 title but failed to do the business in Europe, with the French star exonerated somewhat by an unfortunate injury picked up just before the round-of-16 loss to Bayern Munch.
Messi comes out on top in 2022 World Cup
And, of course, they were the two major stars of the last World Cup, with Mbappé winning the Golden Boot to Messi’s Golden Ball and scoring eight goals to the Argentine’s seven, including an unforgettable hat-trick in the final. But it was Messi who got his hands on the trophy they both really wanted, which is what ultimately matters.
As for Haaland, the Norwegian continued his electric scoring form from his Borussia Dortmund days after joining Manchester City, breaking the record for the most goals scored by a player in a single Premier League season, with 36. The striker bagged 52 goals in 53 games in all competitions as his team won the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup. He couldn’t have done much more.
When is the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony?
The chances of anyone not named Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé or Erling Haaland winning the Ballon d’Or are next to none, and we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out. The awards ceremony will be held at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 30 October 2023.