Ballon d’Or 2023 Power Rankings Top 10 : Has Lionel Messi ended the race with World Cup triumph?

Messi Ballon D'or

It might seem like only a few weeks ago that Karim Benzema was receiving the 2022 Ballon d’Or, but the race for the 2023 prize is already gathering momentum.

It promises to be a unique battle for the Ballon d’Or, with the World Cup taking place in the middle of the 2022-23 campaign, meaning it could be a distant memory by the time the votes are cast.

However, there’s no doubt that starring in Qatar will increase a player’s chances of challenging for the Ballon d’Or, so as GOAL once again follows the race with our Ballon d’Or Power Rankings, we’ve preserved the potential for a performance-driven tournament.

Who, then, has put themselves in the frame with their performances in the first half of the season, and who has some catching up to do?

Ballon d’Or 2023 Power Rankings Top 10, April 2023

 

1. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)

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In 2022-23: 36 goals, 23 assists. Won World Cup & Trophee des Champions.

It’s almost as if Messi can hear Haaland bearing down on him…

The mercurial Argentine has popped up with some key goals for PSG in recent weeks to pretty much get them over the line in the Ligue 1 title race, but the gap at the top of the Ballon d’Or race is getting ever narrower as we enter the run-in.

2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: 48 goals, six assists.

The Jaws theme is beginning to swell in the background, with Haaland having clearly smelled blood in the water in terms of the Ballon d’Or in recent weeks, and has returned to terminator mode as a result.

That might be mixing two iconic movies, but the point stands – if Haaland fires City to three trophies by the time the season is done, he has a real chance of capping it with the biggest individual prize of all.

3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

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© Julian Finney/Getty ImagesKylian Mbappe of France

Last time: 3rd

In 2022-23: 43 goals, 12 assists.

Mbappe should finish the season with a half century of goals for club and country again, but his wait for a first Ballon d’Or is now almost certain to bleed into another year.

He will be nearly 25 by the time this year’s Golden Ball is handed out. At the same age, Lionel Messi had already won three of them.

4. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

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In 2022-23: 22 goals, 20 assists. Won Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

Vinicius’ game seems to have gone to even greater heights since the turn of the year, and he is now rightly considered one of the most fearsome forwards on the planet.

Still in with a chance of winning two more trophies before the season is out, including the Champions League, it could be a memorable end to the campaign for the Brazilian superstar.

 

5. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

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In 2022-23: 26 goals, six assists. Won Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

After a stop-start season, ‘Ballon d’Or Benzema’ is back and firing Madrid towards more honours in a belated push to defend his crown.

Two successive hat-tricks following the international break, including a treble at Camp Nou to knock Barcelona out of the Copa de Rey, suggest that the French striker is hitting top form, and that could yet be enough for Madrid to win yet another European Cup, too.

6. Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

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In 2022-23: 25 goals, five assists.

Osimhen’s importance to Napoli has been laid bare in recent weeks, with Luciano Spalletti’s side currently enduring their first prolonged wobble of the season in the absence of their injured No.9.

The Nigeria international is set to be back in the starting line up as the Serie A leaders aim to come from behind and seal a place in the Champions League semi-finals, and his presence could yet be the difference between their European journey continuing or coming to a premature end.

 

7. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)

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In 2022-23: 16 goals, 17 assists.

Kvaratskhelia was in electric form for Napoli against AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, but the Georgian winger couldn’t find a way past the inspired Mike Maignan.

The man they call ‘Kvaradona’ will need to step up, then, if the Partenopei are to reach the last four of the competition for the first time in their history.

8. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: Seven goals, 26 assists.

We are in prime De Bruyne season now, with the Belgian playmaker having made it a habit of coming up big as the season enters its final weeks.

He is closing in on 30 assists for the campaign across matches for club and country, and could yet finish it with three trophies if City’s winning run continues all the way through until early June.

9. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

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In 2022-23: 31 goals, 10 assists. Won Carabao Cup.

United will be praying that Rashford’s injury does not keep him out of action for too much longer as they aim to end the season with two more trophies and a return to the Champions League secured.

His form hadn’t been quite as electric as it was in early 2023 during the lead-up to him limping off against Everton, but he remains a true difference-maker for Erik ten Hag’s side.

 

10. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

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In 2022-23: 29 goals, nine assists. Won Supercopa de Espana.

Lewandowski is still likely to end his first season at Barca with a league winner’s medal and the Pichichi Trophy as the top scorer in La Liga, but his form in 2023 has been patchy at best.

He has struggled to shake off some niggling injuries, and there is some concern that we are witnessing the beginning of the end for one of European football’s great strikers.

Source: Goal.com

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