Lionel Messi is expected to be named the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner, according to a reported leak of the results. If confirmed, it would mark a historic moment for the Argentine great, as he would become the first player based outside of Europe to claim the prestigious individual honor since the award’s inception in 1956.
At 35 years of age, Messi continues to demonstrate his enduring class and quality. Though he now plies his trade for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer, Messi led Argentina to glory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. His inspirational performances and leadership helped drive his nation to their third ever World Cup title in December.
Messi’s brilliant World Cup is said to be the determining factor in him clinching a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or trophy. The iconic No. 10 will likely edge out other leading contenders like Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham, and Kylian Mbappe. Each of those emerging superstars has made a strong case after thriving for their clubs over the past year.
Nonetheless, Messi’s magical World Cup displays seem set to seal the deal. By guiding Argentina to their first World Cup win since 1986, he achieved the missing prize that long eluded both him and his country. If made official on October 30th in Paris, this 2023 Ballon d’Or would serve as a fitting reward for Messi’s crowning World Cup achievement.
Aitana Bonmati Tipped to Win Inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or
Alongside Messi’s projected men’s prize, Spain’s Aitana Bonmati has reportedly been leaked as the first-ever winner of the women’s Ballon d’Or. Coming off a starring role in Spain’s Euro 2022 triumph, the Barcelona midfielder would be a worthy recipient of the new women’s accolade.
Bonmati, just 24 years old, was recognized as the Best Young Player of the Euros this summer. She netted three goals from midfield as Spain won their first ever major tournament. That breakthrough victory has sparked a golden era for Spanish women’s football.
As the heartbeat of both the national team and her Barcelona club side, Bonmati’s consistent excellence rightly positions her as the favorite for the maiden Ballon d’Or Feminin. Given Spain’s ongoing success, she may well be the first of many Spanish stars to hold the new honor in the years ahead.