The Argentine icon defeated Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to secure his eighth Ballon d’Or.
Lothar Matthaus believes Erling Haaland deserved to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or instead of Lionel Messi.
Messi finally realized his dream of leading Argentina to the World Cup trophy last year. A host of fantastic displays saw the Argentine superstar win the tournament’s Golden Ball for the second time.
In most World Cup years, that achievement should be enough for a player to win the Ballon d’Or. But Messi’s triumph on Monday hasn’t been met with unanimous approval.
Critics argue that Haaland had a stronger case to win the prestigious trophy after securing a historic treble in his debut season at Manchester City.
“Over the past year, Haaland did better than Messi. It’s not deserved that Messi won,” Matthaus said on Sky Sports Germany.
“It shows that a World Cup matters more than anything else. For me, Haaland is the best player of the last twelve months, won everything with Manchester City, and broke goal-scoring records in the process. In my view, there’s no way to bypass Haaland. The choice is a joke, even though I’m a fan of Messi.”
Messi was followed by Haaland, Kylian Mbappe, Kevin De Bruyne, and Rodri in the final standings for the 2023 Men’s Ballon d’Or.