Ballon d’Or 2023 Power Rankings top 10: Messi set to pip Haaland to eighth Golden Ball as Man City dominate potential nominees


With the 2023 Ballon d’Or race almost over, some of the world’s best footballers have spent the last 11 months jostling for 2022 winner Karim Benzema to lift the Ballon d’Or in Paris on 30 October.

It has promised 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 voting comes in August. However, there is no doubt that playing a starring role in Qatar has increased the chances of some players to compete for the Ballon d’Or, even if the domestic and European titles are now decided.

Ballon d’Or 2023 Power Rankings top 10

1. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami)

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Last time: 1st

In 2022-23: 39 goals, 25 assists. Won World Cup, Ligue 1 & Trophee des Champions.

Messi did his best to throw an eighth Ballon d’Or away with his stuttering form during the second half of the season, but in the end his iconic World Cup win is likely to be enough to earn him yet another Golden Ball.

With it now more likely than ever that he is done with European football, though, does it mean it will be his eighth and final win of the award?

2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: 56 goals, nine assists. Won Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Haaland broke countless records over the course of the season, and there was a time in late April that it seemed inevitable he would move to the top of the Ballon d’Or rankings come the end of the campaign.

However, a run of just one goal in his final eight games for City means he will likely come up short in 2023, even though it was his goals that played a massive role in Pep Guardiola’s side winning the treble.

3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

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In 2022-23: 55 goals, 14 assists. Won Ligue 1.

Mbappe himself believes he has done enough to win the Ballon d’Or in 2023, and it isn’t difficult to build a case for him to do just that. He scored over 50 goals for club and country, won yet another league title, and won the Golden Boot at the World Cup after scoring a hat-trick in the final.

However, coming up short in Qatar and the lack of a deep Champions League run is likely to cost him what feels like an inevitable first Ballon d’Or this time around.

4. Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)

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Last time: 4th

In 2022-23: 25 goals, 26 assists. Won Copa del Rey, Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

Given everything that Vinicius had to put up with from opposition fans in Spain over the course of the season, his form was superb, with it now confirmed that he is among that small group that can be dubbed world-class.

Falling short in the Champions League will likely mean he misses out on the Ballon d’Or podium this time around, but everything about the Brazilian profiles as a future winner of the award.

5. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: 10 goals, 32 assists. Won Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Thirty-two assists! De Bruyne truly is the best playmaker of his generation, and the way he rounded into form over the course of the season was key to City hitting the heights they did over the final few months of the campaign.

His injury luck in Champions League finals may no be the best, but at least the Belgian finished on the winning side this time to finally get his hands on the European Cup.

6. Rodri (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: Four goals, seven assists. Won Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Nations League & FA Cup.

The best holding midfielder in the world? Rodri may well have earned that honour now, with the Spain international having become a hugely consistent performer for City over the course of the season.

No outfield player started more than his 52 games for City in 2022-23, and he saved the best for last, netting the winning goal in the Champions League final.

7. Ilkay Gundogan (Barcelona)

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In 2022-23: 13 goals, seven assists. Won Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Barcelona are going to have an elite player on their hands once Gundogan officially arrives at Camp Nou, and one who has proven he can come up clutch when his team needs him the most.

The midfielder’s pair of braces against Leeds and Everton effectively sealed the Premier League title for City, before his stunning double at Wembley proved to be the difference in the FA Cup final win over Manchester United.

8. Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

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In 2022-23: 33 goals, five assists. Won Serie A.

Osimhen will forever be immortalised in Naples after his goal sealed the Partenopei’s first Serie A title for 33 years, and it was only right after the season he had that the Nigerian striker was the man to finish the job.

Now attention turns to whether Napoli can keep hold of Europe’s most-wanted forward this summer.

9. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

In 2022-23: 36 goals, 11 assists. Won La Liga & Supercopa de Espana.

Lewandowski’s chances of ever getting his hands on the Ballon d’Or might now have gone, but he did at least keep up his superb record of winning league titles by firing Barca back to the top of Spanish football.

That he managed it despite the odd lull in form is testament to his ability as he approaches his 35th birthday.

10. Julian Alvarez (Manchester City)

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In 2022-23: 23 goals, six assists. Won World Cup, Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Only six Premier League players scored more goals in all competitions than Alvarez in 2022-23 as he proved that he needs to be more than just a back-up for Man City going forward.

For now, he can be content with finishing as the most-decorated footballer on the planet for the 2022-23 campaign, meaning a Ballon d’Or nomination is a certainty.


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