The Ballon d’Or remains the most prestigious individual accolade in world football, an accolade that often cements a talent in the pantheon of all-time greats.
Karim Benzema won the award in 2022, with the Real Madrid striker recognized as the best footballer in the world after an outstanding individual season at the Spanish giants.
This season’s race appears wide open, and the presence of the World Cup in the middle of the season has added a different dynamic to the voting.
We decided to take a look at the five bookmakers’ favorites to win the Ballon d’Or 2023.
Kylian Mbappe – 33/1
Kylian Mbappe enhanced his reputation as one of world football’s top talents at the World Cup last winter, as the forward inspired France to a second successive final.
Mbappe’s eight goals earned him the tournament’s Golden Boot, in the joint-highest scoring individual tournament in 52 years. Mbappe’s incredible contribution also saw him become just the second player to score a World Cup final hat-trick, after Geoff Hurst for England in 1966.
The 24-year-old is currently Ligue 1’s leading scorer as he chases France’s top-scorer award for a fifth straight season, while he is now the highest goalscorer in French football since the turn of the century.
However, that his goalscoring feats for France came in a losing effort in Qatar, alongside Paris Saint-Germain’s early exit from the Champions League this season, will count against him in the Ballon d’Or voting.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne – who leads the Premier League for assists and is chasing a treble at club level – can also be found at 33/1.
Vinicius Junior – 33/1
Carlo Ancelotti called Vinicius Junior ‘the best player in the world’ last month, after the Real Madrid forward inspired his team against Liverpool in the Champions League’s last 16.
Vinicius has evolved into one of the most effective attacking options in world football across the last two seasons, having produced 44 goals and 39 assists for Real Madrid since the start of last season.
The 22-year-old’s explosive performances have helped Real Madrid into the Champions League semi-finals, as Los Blancos look for back-to-back triumphs in Europe’s top competition.
Success on the continent is often a key measure when it comes to Ballon d’Or winners, as Vinicius looks to become the first Brazilian since Kaka in 2007 to win the award.
Karim Benzema – 28/1
Karim Benzema has been priced at 28/1 odds to make it consecutive Ballon d’Or triumphs, with the Frenchman capable of becoming the eighth player to win the award in successive years.
Benzema has not quite replicated the performances of his Ballon d’Or winning year in 2022, but there have been signs the 35-year-old is approaching his best as the season reaches its conclusion.
He scored an El Clásico hat-trick against Barcelona earlier this month to book Real Madrid’s place in the Copa del Rey final, while four goals in four knockout round games has ensured the Spaniards have progressed to the Champions League’s last four.
Benzema is targeting a record-equalling sixth success in the competition this season, a scenario which might be required to move him into contention for the Ballon d’Or.
Erling Haaland – 7/4
Erling Haaland is the second favourite to win the award, following a season of record-breaking exploits at Manchester City.
Haaland is the leading scorer across Europe’s top five leagues and in the Champions League, with his 49 goals in 43 games the most prolific season from a Premier League player ever.
The Norwegian has already beaten the Premier League’s 38-game season goal scoring record, with his goals having put Pep Guardiola’s side into contention for a historic treble.
Should City emerge triumphant in all three remaining competitions and win a maiden Champions League this season, Haaland’s claim to the Ballon d’Or will be difficult to argue. He could become just the third player to win the accolade while at a Premier League club, after Michael Owen (2001) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2008).
Lionel Messi – 4/9
Lionel Messi is the odds-on favourite to win a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or in 2023, largely thanks to his exploits on the world stage in Qatar.
Messi added the one glaring omission to his incredible résumé of honours and titles, inspiring Argentina to World Cup success last winter. The 35-year-old was named as the tournament’s best player after seven goals and three assists, including a brace in the final win over France.