The football world is abuzz with anticipation as the 67th annual Ballon d’Or awards ceremony is set to unfold on Monday, 30 October 2023.
This esteemed event, presented annually by the French news magazine France Football since 1956, is a hallmark of excellence, honoring the most outstanding male and female football players of the year.
Last Year’s Glittering Achievements
The previous year witnessed Karim Benzema, the striking force behind Real Madrid, clinch the Ballon d’Or trophy. His remarkable contributions led Real Madrid to secure the Champions League, LaLiga, UEFA Super Cup, and Spanish Super Cup titles. On the women’s side, Alexia Putellas stood out, winning the Ballon d’Or Féminin for the second consecutive year, showcasing her unparalleled skills and leadership.
Lionel Messi: A Living Legend
Lionel Messi, a name that resonates with greatness in football, holds the record with an awe-inspiring seven Ballon d’Or wins. This year, he emerges as the top contender yet again. His extraordinary performance in leading Argentina to World Cup victory, including scoring seven goals and winning the Golden Ball for the best player, makes him a strong favorite. Messi, however, faces stiff competition from Manchester City’s goal machine, Erling Haaland, and PSG’s prodigy, Kylian Mbappe.
Women’s Category: A New Favorite Emerges
In the women’s category, Aitana Bonmati is tipped to be the frontrunner, succeeding Alexia Putellas for the Ballon d’Or Féminin. Her pivotal role in Spain’s Women’s World Cup campaign and Barcelona’s triumph in the Women’s Champions League has put her in the spotlight. Bonmati’s accolades, including being named player of the tournament in both competitions, speak volumes of her prowess. Additionally, Chelsea and Australia’s star, Sam Kerr, is expected to rank high, thanks to her impressive performances.
Event Details: Venue, Time, and Viewing Options
The ceremony will take place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France, and is expected to begin at 8:00 pm GMT (UK time). Fans worldwide can tune in to L’Equipe’s YouTube channel for free live coverage, presented by Chelsea legend Didier Drogba.
Ballon d’Or 2023: Men’s Nominees
The men’s award features a star-studded list of nominees. From Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig and Manchester City to Andre Onana of Inter Milan and Manchester United, the list showcases a mix of defensive stalwarts and attacking talents. Players like Karim Benzema, Mohamed Salah, and Jamal Musiala have continued to dazzle fans with their performances. Young talents such as Bukayo Saka, Randal Kolo Muani, and Jude Bellingham also find their names in this prestigious list. Veterans like Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Emiliano Martinez add to the mix, showcasing the diversity and richness of talent in the footballing world.
Ballon d’Or Féminin 2023: Women’s Nominees
The women’s category is equally competitive, featuring players like Daphne Van Domselaar, Lena Oberdorf, and Hinata Miyazawa. Stars like Millie Bright, Salma Paralluelo, and Sophia Smith have shown exceptional skills on the field. The list also includes Amanda Ilestedt, Georgia Stanway, Olga Carmona, Fridolina Rolfo, Rachel Daly, and Alba Redondo, among others. Each nominee brings a unique style and contribution to the game, making the competition fierce and the outcome unpredictable.
Selection Process: How Winners are Decided
The Ballon d’Or winners are decided by a panel of 100 journalists from FIFA’s top-ranked member nations. Each journalist selects their top five picks from the 30-player shortlists, with the highest-ranking earning the most votes. The players with the highest number of votes at the end of the tally are declared the winners.
Favorites and Expectations
While Lionel Messi leads the race for the men’s award, Erling Haaland’s phenomenal debut season with Manchester City, scoring 52 goals across all competitions, makes him a strong contender. Other players expected to feature prominently include Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior, PSG’s Kylian Mbappe, and Manchester City midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri.
In the women’s category, Aitana Bonmati’s Golden Ball wins during Spain’s first-ever World Cup triumph and Barcelona’s success make her a favorite. Chelsea’s Sam Kerr, with her 29 goals, and Georgia Stanway’s performances for England and Bayern Munich, also make them strong contenders.
Additional Awards: Recognizing Varied Talents
Besides the main awards, the ceremony will also feature presentations of the Kopa Trophy (best Under-21 player), the Yashin Trophy (best goalkeeper), the Socrates Award (humanitarian work by a footballer), the Gerd Muller Trophy (best striker for club and country), and the Club of the Year. These awards highlight different aspects of footballing excellence and commendable contributions beyond the pitch.
As the football community eagerly awaits the 67th Ballon d’Or ceremony, excitement and speculation are at an all-time high. With such an array of talent and achievements, the event promises to be a memorable celebration of football’s finest.