Argentina captain Lionel Messi was announced by France Football as the 2023 winner, beating Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, making it Ballon d'Or number eight for the Inter Miami star. For the first time in many years, Cristiano Ronaldo was missing from the Ballon d’Or nominee list as he watched his biggest rival bag another. Here are some of the biggest winners and losers from the prestigious awards night.
Lionel Messi and have appeared on the 30-man Ballon d’Or almost every year since 2006. However, for the first time in 18 years, the Portuguese captain was not deemed one of the best players in the world by the award organizers, while his biggest rival was considered to be the best in the world.
08:21 - 31.10.2023
'Are you the GOAT?' — Lionel Messi finally responds after extending gap over Ronaldo with 8th Ballon d'Or
Lionel Messi has finally opened up on the GOAT debate after lifting a record-extending 8th Ballon d'Or in Paris.
The biggest winner of the night is Messi, as the Argentine went home with the eight Ballon d’Or of his illustrious career. The last year has been a great one for the forward, as he led his country to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The Ballon d’Or was a cherry on top for a player already considered the greatest of all time by many fans of the game.
To many, he was a loser on the night, but in the context of his young career, finishing second in the Ballon d’Or rankings is a great achievement. One thing is certain: the Nowergian is here to stay, and he will score many more goals to take him back to the podium. Finishing behind a great like Messi should not be considered a loss but rather a spring to bigger success.
, achieving the highest ranking by a Nigerian in history. Osimhen also achieved the highest ranking by an African in this year’s Ballon d’Or. The forward led Napoli to their first Scuddetto in 33 years, winning the golden boot and the best striker award in Serie A. The lethal striker also made the Serie A team of the season and was the top scorer in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Argentine goalkeeper has had a year to remember, and winning the Yashin Trophy must have been a dream come true for him. From being the second choice at Arsenal a couple of years ago to being an important factor in his country’s World Cup triumph, his rise has been meteoric.
Having led Spain to the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup and winning the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player, crowned a great year by winning the Ballon d'Or Femini award. In the 2022–23 season, she scored 19 times in all competitions, helping Barcelona to another domestic league and Champions League double.
11:33 - 31.10.2023
Cristiano Ronaldo supporters have insisted that the Portuguese forward is still the GOAT despite Lionel Messi winning an 8th Ballon d'Or.
The Portuguese captain has five Ballon d’Ors to his name, with the last coming in 2017. Since 2017, his rival Messi has gone on to win three more Ballon d’Ors, increasing the difference between them. With the “GOAT” debate being a thing for many years, the 2023 Ballon d’Or seemed like a reality that Messi has finally pulled clear of Ronaldo, his biggest rival.
The French forward had a fantastic season and has not received enough recognition. Finishing in 21st place seemed like a slap in the face, given that the likes of Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Mohamed Salah, and Harry Kane all finished above him on the list. With 35 goal contributions in 48 games for Atlético Madrid last season and a second-place finish with France in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Greizmann deserved to finish higher.
The treble-winning goalkeeper did not make the 30-man Ballon d’Or list and also lost the Yashin Trophy to Emiliano Martinez. The 30-year-old was one of the first names on the list for Pep Guardiola’s team last season, and he would feel City’s achievements in the 2022–23 season should have propelled him to win the best goalkeeper award.
The German attacking midfielder had 32 goal contributions in 47 games for Bayern Munich last season while also winning the Bundesliga. However, that did not stop him from losing both the 2023 Bundesliga player of the season and the 2023 Kopa Trophy awards to Jude Bellinhgham. The Real Madrid star might be getting all the plaudits right now, but Musiala has every right to feel he also did enough to win these awards.
The 23-year-old is one of the few lucky ones to have won almost all the biggest trophies in football at such a young age. He was part of the treble-winning Manchester City side, scoring 17 goals in 49 appearances while also scoring four goals and playing an important role in Argentina’s World Cup triumph. Finishing 7th on the Ballon d’Or list behind the likes of Vinícius Júnior despite all he achieved last season might feel a bit underwhelming.