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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974


Opinion: Why Lionel Messi Deserved his Record Eighth Ballon d’Or

Messi was chosen for the 2023 Ballon d’Or, as he totaled 42 goals and 26 assists. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

This year, Lionel Messi won his historic eighth Ballon d’Or. Ranked first overall and chosen as the winner for the 2023 Ballon d’Or, Messi had 42 goals, 26 assists and wins in the World Cup, Ligue 1 and Trophee des Champions.

Messi has been a member of the Argentinian National Team since he was called up in 2005. His first professional club was Barcelona F.C., where he played from 2004 to 2021. Messi then transferred to Paris Saint Germain, and in July of 2023, he officially joined Inter Miami F.C. Since Messi’s arrival, soccer has risen in popularity in the United States, and Inter Miami now plays in sold-out stadiums. Messi is also the first MLS player to win a Ballon d’Or.

Prior to winning this award, Messi already held the record for the most Ballon d’Ors, and he has now extended that record with his eighth career win this year. Notably, the person with the second most Ballon d’Ors is the Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won five in his career. 

The Ballon d’Or is one of the most prestigious awards in soccer history and is given out every year to the best player of the season. The winner is chosen by a group of 100 international journalists from FIFA’s 100 top ranked member nations. The journalists each chose a top five from a list of thirty players. The first pick gets 6 points, the second gets 4, the third gets 3, the fourth gets 2, and the fifth gets 1. The player with the most points at the end is selected as the winner.

The top competitors for the award this year besides Messi were Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Kevin De Bruyne and Rodrigo Cascante, known as Rodri. Rodri was ranked fifth place, as he scored four goals, had seven assists and won the Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Nations League and FA Cup. De Bruyne, Rodri’s Manchester City teammate, was ranked 4th in voting as he scored 10 goals, had 32 assists and won the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup. In third place was Mbappe with 55 goals, 14 assists and a Ligue 1 title. 

While these three players were in contention for the award this year, many fans primarily debated whether Messi or Haaland should receive the award. Haaland, a Norwegian striker who transferred from Borussia Dortmund in 2022, has already had a phenomenal impact for Manchester City. 

During his first season with City, Haaland recorded 56 goals and had 9 assists. In the Premier League alone, Haaland scored a record-breaking 36 goals. City also won the Treble that year, meaning that the club won three trophies in a single season –the Champions League, Premier League and the FA Cup. 

Many fans argued that Haaland deserved the Ballon d’Or due to the competitiveness of the Champions League and the sheer number of goals he scored this year. Additionally, many fans took to social media platforms claiming that the Ballon d’Or has, and will always be rigged for Messi because of his name value. The biggest trending topic was that Messi did not deserve the award this year. 

This year, Haaland won the Gerd Muller Trophy, given to the best striker of the year. However, though historic, his season was unmatched by Messi’s groundbreaking World Cup performance in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, where he steered Argentina to their first World Cup title since 1986. Messi received the Golden Ball for the best player and Silver Boot for the second highest goal scorer for his performance in the tournament. 

Many of these fans are mistaken because the Ballon d’Or is not simply about scoring goals, but also a player’s impact in games and overall ability on the field. Messi has proven his value as a player has he led both the Argentinian 

This new Ballon d’Or is the perfect conclusion of Messi’s phenomenal past two seasons, and leaves fans excited for a new chapter in Messi’s career.

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