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

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Messi Ballon D'or
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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

 

1. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)

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In 2022-23: 24 goals, 18 assists. Won World Cup & Trophee des Champions.

An absolute force of nature, Messi finally ended the long wait for a first World Cup, leading from the front with goals and assists that left fans around the globe in awe.

A deserving winner of the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player, is there anything anyone else can do to stop Messi from claiming Ballon d’Or number eight? Though the season still has six months to go, it might prove difficult.

2. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

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© Julian Finney/Getty ImagesKylian Mbappe of France

In 2022-23: 28 goals, seven assists.

When Mbappe turns 24 on Tuesday, he won’t do as a two-time World Cup winner, but he will do confident that he will break almost every record going at the tournament going forward.

Mbappe wrapped up the Golden Boot with just the second hat-trick in a World Cup final against Argentina, crowning yet another memorable month on the global stage for the PSG superstar.

3. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: 24 goals, three assists.

With any doubts over whether he would cut it at Manchester City extinguished in the space of a few weeks, Haaland has now had the chance to put his feet up and rest for a month before trying to continue his record-breaking goalscoring pace at the end of December.

Such is Haaland’s talent, he can definitely win the Ballon d’Or without having taken part at the World Cup, and the tournament has so far played out almost perfectly for him.

4. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain)

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In 2022-23: 18 goals, 15 assists. Won Trophee des Champions.

Neymar’s World Cup dream is over, with the Brazilian superstar hinting that he will not carry on with the national team through to 2026 after their quarter-final defeat to Croatia.

His struggles with form and fitness at the World Cup should not, however, detract from his superb first half of the season at PSG, and if he maintains that level of form, he could still force himself into the Ballon d’Or race.

5. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

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In 2022-23: 20 goals, six assists.

At what was perhaps his final World Cup, Lewandowski cut a frustrated figure for much of Poland’s campaign, even if he did manage to score his first goals at the tournament.

His return to Barcelona action will be delayed by a suspension after he was sent off in their final game before the break, but that should mean he is fresh for the second half of the campaign.

 

6. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

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Vinicius had a tough time of things / Lars Baron/GettyImages

In 2022-23: 11 goals, nine assists. Won UEFA Super Cup.

Vinicius showed flashes of his outstanding ability at his first World Cup, but he was one of a number who couldn’t produce consistently enough for Brazil to make it further than the quarter-finals.

With that first global tournament out of the way, he can now focus on elevating himself to become the main man at Real Madrid over the second half of the season.

7. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

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© Clive Mason/Getty ImagesKevin De Bruyne

In 2022-23: Four goals, 14 assists.

Perhaps one of the most underwhelming performers at the World Cup, De Bruyne was powerless to stop Belgium’s ageing side from crashing out in the group stages.

He will be glad, then, to get back to Manchester City and start swinging in crosses for Erling Haaland to attack once more.

8. Julian Alvarez (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: 13 goals, three assists. Won World Cup.

The decision to bring Alvarez into the line up after a couple of matches proved key to Argentina winning the World Cup, as the striker led the line superbly, providing both goals and clever link-up play alongside Lionel Messi.

Given he is a Manchester City player, Alvarez now has a real chance to be one of the most decorated players in world football this season, and though France Football have instructed judges to prioritise performance over trophies, there’s no doubt that the ex-River Plate man deserves to be at least a Ballon d’Or nominee.

9. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

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In 2022-23: 16 goals, five assists. Won Community Shield.

Salah looked back to his best during the final few weeks before the World Cup, with the Egyptian’s goals just about keeping Liverpool’s head above water after a patchy run of form.

His match-winning strikes against Manchester City and Tottenham were vintage Salah, and though he wasn’t at the World Cup, he could still have his say in the Ballon d’Or race.

Surely Liverpool can’t be as bad in 2023? And if they do start firing again, then expect Salah to be leading the way.

10. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)

In 2022-23: 10 goals, 11 assists.

The breakout star of the European season so far, ‘Kvaradona’ helped fire Napoli to a commanding lead at the top of Serie A, as well as a Champions League group win that sets them up nicely for a deep run through the knockout rounds.

No stat sums up the winger’s impact better than the fact that he currently leads Serie A for the most combined goals and assists, despite missing Napoli’s final three matches before the break through injury.

Georgia’s failure to qualify for the World Cup was obviously a serious blow to his Ballon d’Or hopes, but at least he now has had a few more weeks off to get himself back in peak physical condition for the second half of the season.

Source: Goal.com

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