Erling Haaland’s Norway coach makes interesting pick for Ballon d’Or Award

Messi, Haaland, and Mbappe are the frontrunners for the award | Imago

FOOTBALL Erling Haaland’s Norway coach makes interesting pick for Ballon d’Or Award

Joel Omotto 19:00 - 09.09.2023

Norway coach Stale Solbakken has made a curious prediction on who he thinks will win the prestigious Ballon d’Or Award

Norway coach Stale Solbakken believes Lionel Messi will win the Ballon d’Or Award ahead of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe who are the other major contenders.

Solbakken has two of his players in Manchester City’s Haaland and Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard in the 30-man shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or but he does not think any of them can beat the Argentina legend who is in line for a record-extending eighth award.

“It will most likely be between Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Erling (Haaland). Then there are also the outsiders just below them,” Solbakken told the media, as reported by Norwegian outlet Bold.

“If you ask me who I think will win, I will say that Messi will win it because of the World Cup triumph. It always has an impact. Mbappé was there too.

“Erling has top scorer titles, he broke records and won 'Player of the Year' in every category in England, plus he won the Champions League.”

Messi led Argentina to the 2022 World Cup trophy while also winning the French Ligue 1 title, scoring 32 goals while providing 25 assists and is hot favourite to claim another award.

He has won it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021 with only Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five, and Karim Benzema, the 2022 winner, denying him in the last 13 years.

Meanwhile, Haaland, who was recently crowned Premier League Player of the Year, scored 52 goals, and added nine assists as Manchester City won the treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup while Mbappe claimed the Ligue 1 title and reached the World Cup final with France, having netted 41 goals while providing 10 assists.