There were no surprises. As everyone expected, the world’s best soccer player in 2023 was ‘God’ Lionel Messi (36, Inter Miami). Messi won his 8th Ballon d’Or.
Messi held high the golden ball symbolizing the best star at the 2023 French Football Ballon d’Or ceremony held at the Châtelet Theater in Paris, France on the 31st (Korean time). Starting in 2009, when he first won the award as a member of Barcelona, he stood at the top again in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021.
He has won the Ballon d’Or eight times. It is definitely a record that will never happen in the past or in the future. The person with the most awards following Messi is Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr) with 5 times. This is also a great award record, but the difference with Messi is significant, and behind him are Michel Platini (France), Johan Cruyff (Netherlands), and Marco van Basten (Netherlands), who won three awards.
Even if he dominated the era, the Ballon d’Or is an award that is difficult to receive. The best players compete every year. This award, first established in 1956, has considerable history and authority. For a while, the award was limited to European players, but since 2007, it has been changed to include players from all over the world, regardless of nationality and club affiliation. It was once integrated with the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), but is now awarded separately.온라인카지노
In this fierce competition, Messi became the protagonist of the 8th Ballon d’Or, which seemed impossible. In fact, when he received his 7th Ballon d’Or two years ago, it was considered difficult for Messi to win the award. That’s why Messi also enjoyed the most joy. In particular, in the pictorial, Messi sits on a large sofa with his wife and children and puts his foot on the Ballon d’Or. Even though her family each had one, there were still two. Her eldest son, Thiago, made a big splash by using the Ballon d’Or as a foot rest.
Messi’s dominance could not be stopped this season either. This year’s Ballon d’Or reflects the performance of the FIFA Qatar World Cup held at the end of last year. This is why Messi was already expected to win the award. Messi scored a total of 7 goals, including 2 in the World Cup final, leading Argentina to its first championship in 36 years. He made the tournament his own by winning the Golden Ball, the best player of the Qatar World Cup.
Messi’s World Cup victory had significant symbolism. He succeeded in filling in just one missing piece of the puzzle. It is a stage that has always caused pain, from the 2006 Germany tournament, when Messi first took on the challenge of the World Cup, to the 2018 Russia tournament. It was particularly difficult for Messi to make a mark in the national team, so he suffered greatly.
At one point, when I was weighed down by the pressure of winning second place in successive major tournaments, I even considered taking off my Argentina national team uniform. It was a time when they were not welcomed even by their own fans. Messi did not give up. He continued to challenge Argentina and did not miss his last chance.
Messi, who broke away from a long absence from the national team by winning the Copa America last year, was able to properly relieve his resentment at the Qatar World Cup. He performed brilliantly throughout the World Cup. He scored goals not only in the group stage, but also in the round of 16, quarterfinals, and semifinals of the tournament. He performed alone in the finals and created a legend by winning the World Cup at the age of 35.
His club performance, with 20 goals and 20 assists at Paris Saint-Germain, is also a factor in receiving big scores. Although he moved his career to the U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS) last summer, he created quite a stir by winning the North and Central American League Cup with 10 goals in 7 games as soon as he joined Miami.
Ahead of the Ballon d’Or, the prediction was so strong that rumors spread that someone close to Messi had heard whether he would win the award. European soccer expert Fabrizio Romano also announced the Ballon d’Or award early on, saying, “Messi has booked a flight to Paris.”
As Messi became the likely winner, voices of support were also heard. Brazilian legend ‘alien’ Ronaldinho even predicted that Messi would win the award last winter. At the time, Ronaldinho strongly asserted, “Messi scored two goals in the World Cup final and even achieved his first win in his career. Messi has no choice but to win the Ballon d’Or.” He even went so far as to show his respect by saying, “Messi will go down in football history as the 8th Ballon d’Or.”
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), who recently enjoyed a meal in Barcelona, said, “Messi is the best player in the world. We must distinguish between players who score a lot of goals and great players.”
Of course, there are other opinions. Former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy favored Erling Haaland (Manchester City) over Messi through the UK’s ‘Talk Sports’. Cundy, who played for Chelsea from 1988 to 1992, said, “I think it’s a disgrace for Holland not to receive the Ballon d’Or. If Messi wins the World Cup alone, he will be a disgrace to the Ballon d’Or.”
Haaland also had a great year, enough to threaten Messi. Haaland scored 52 goals and 9 assists in 53 games for Manchester City last season. He gave Manchester City its first treble, winning not only the English Premier League, but also the English Football Association (FA) Cup and the UEFA Champions League. In recognition of this, he received the UEFA Player of the Year award, and it was widely expected that he would tackle Messi’s Ballon d’Or.
As time went on, more and more people focused on Messi. Gabriel Agbonlaher, from Aston Villa, also countered, saying, “But Messi should receive it. Winning the World Cup was truly amazing. Haaland did well, but he was unlucky. But he will have a chance to win the Ballon d’Or next year as well.” It was about that.
Even Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola, the mentor of Messi and Haaland, supported Messi. Coach Guardiola said, as if Messi’s Ballon d’Or was a given, “It should be divided into two categories. An award for Messi and another for other players to compete for.” He added, “Halland should also win the Ballon d’Or. Let’s win the treble with us.” “I did it and scored 50 goals. But Messi won the World Cup,” he nodded.
Messi also reacted to the Ballon d’Or rumor that was leaning toward him. Perhaps because she had already won seven Ballon d’Ors, Messi didn’t care much. Despite his amazing achievements, he drew a line by saying, “The Ballon d’Or is certainly a great award, but I do not attach absolute importance to it. What is important to me is winning as a team.”
Messi reiterated his belief in putting the team before the individual and said, “I don’t think about the Ballon d’Or. Whether I win it or not, nothing special will happen. I have achieved what I set out to achieve, and now I have another goal.” He showed maturity by prioritizing winning the title.
Nevertheless, there is another history created by Messi. Currently, Messi does not play in Europe. He moved to the U.S. Major League Soccer (MLS) ahead of this season. Therefore, Messi is the first player to receive the Ballon d’Or who does not play for a European club. It has always been awarded to players who have been on the European stage, but Messi has opened a new chapter.
Messi’s performance in the U.S. could also have been a positive factor. He joined Miami after signing a contract with Paris Saint-Germain last season and had no time to recharge. However, starting from the summer, we played one after another in the U.S. Cup competition. In this process, Messi performed brilliantly in the League Cup and US Open Cup.
Miami has completely changed since Messi joined. Before Messi joined, Miami was evaluated as the weakest team in all of MLS. Not only did they rank last in the Eastern Conference, but they also had the fewest points earned up to that point compared to teams in the West.
However, in the League Cup, which started with Messi in mid-July, Miami experienced an unexpected drama by winning its first championship since its founding. Messi led Miami to victory with a free kick winning goal even before Cruz Azul made his debut, and led Miami to the top by scoring in seven games. Messi, who scored 10 goals in 7 games, won the championship and was the top scorer and MVP.
Messi’s performance continued. In the semifinals of the US Open Cup, the equivalent of MLS’s FA Cup, Messi recorded 2 assists and helped Miami advance to the finals. Messi, who dominated the cup competition for a short period of time, is playing in MLS in September. Although the streak of offensive points stopped in the game against Nashville SC, Miami rarely lost thanks to the Messi effect.
Miami, boosted by Messi, went on a winning streak in the league, winning 3-1 over LA FC and beating Sporting KC 3-2. Attention was drawn to whether they could successfully get out of last place in the Eastern Conference and move up to the playoff rankings.
However, Messi’s fatigue reached its maximum and he had to miss the match due to injury at the last minute. Miami ended its season with an away game in Charlotte on the 22nd. As soon as the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony ends, Messi will move to China and begin a tour.
Messi, who finished his first season in Miami in a short period of time with 11 goals in 14 games and one trophy, said, “I am proud of the achievements I have achieved with my new team. I will show even better next season as I have adapted to the first season. I will not stop. “My goal is to be a player who doesn’t do that,” he pledged.
Messi can now claim to be the best player of all time (GOAT). The person compared to Messi is soccer emperor Pele (Brazil). Pele has solidified his place at the top of soccer history by winning the World Cup three times and scoring more than 1,000 goals in his career. Although he was unable to win the Ballon d’Or during his time as a player, France Football recognized Pele with the honorary seventh award in 2016 to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
The conclusion was that, using the current evaluation standards, Pele should have won the Ballon d’Or in 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, and 1970. Pele also had 7 honorary Ballon d’Or awards, but Messi surpassed even that. It’s enough to claim GOAT.
In contrast, his rival Ronaldo became even more obscured. They were already distinguished by their performance in the Qatar World Cup. Unlike Messi, who achieved his long-cherished wish by reaching the top, Ronaldo failed to live up to his name by starting on the bench in tournaments such as the round of 16 and quarterfinals.
Ronaldo has also become Messi’s rival, with the most goals scored in A matches (127 goals), the most goals scored in the UEFA Champions League (140 goals), and the Ballon d’Or winner five times, but now he will never be able to surpass him.
The successors to Messi are, of course, Haaland and Mbappe. Haaland ranked second thanks to his treble glory, and Mbappe also succeeded in getting votes thanks to leading France to runners-up in the Qatar World Cup. However, Holland and Mbappe are expected to reach their prime in the future, so the battle for the Ballon d’Or is expected to begin in earnest starting next year.
Meanwhile, the Copa Trophy, given to the best player under the age of 21, went to Jude Bellingham, who is showing the best performance at Real Madrid. Bellingham is showing off his amazing talent by recently scoring multiple goals in the El Clásico derby against Barcelona.
Korean national team defender Kim Min-jae was ranked 22nd. Kim Min-jae is the first Asian defender to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or this year, and was recognized for his performance this year as he placed 22nd and was included in the finals for the Ballon d’Or for the first time in his life.
With this, Kim Min-jae became the fifth Korean player to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or. In 2002, Seol Ki-hyun (then Anderlecht) was selected as the first candidate, opening the door to the Ballon d’Or to Korean players, followed by Park Ji-sung (2005, then Manchester United) and Son Heung-min (2019, 2022, Tottenham Hotspur).
The highest ranking was Son Heung-min last year. Son Heung-min, who took the title of top scorer in the English Premier League, ranked 11th in the final and boasts the highest ranking ever for an Asian player. Son Heung-min attracted even more attention by consistently advancing the Ballon d’Or rankings.
Minjae Kim was named the best defender in 2023 through this evaluation. Looking at this list alone, there are only three defenders, including Kim Min-jae, Ruben Dias, and Joszko Gvardiol (Manchester City). Among them, you can see how outstanding Kim Min-jae’s performance was just by looking at his highest ranking.
Kim Min-jae was named the world’s best defender in 2023, but unfortunately he could not be seen at the Ballon d’Or awards ceremony. In addition to Kim Min-jae, Bayern Munich teammates Harry Kane and Jamal Musiala, who were nominated for the Ballon d’Or, also did not attend the awards ceremony.
According to German media ‘Sport 1’, all three candidates from Bayern Munich were invited to the awards ceremony, but decided not to participate in preparation for the second round of the 2023-24 season German Football Federation (DFB) Pokal, scheduled for two days later. Bayern Munich meets third division club FC Saarbrücken in the Pokal. Considering the opponent’s strength, Kim Min-jae, Kane, and Musiala are not expected to play, but considering the preparation process and atmosphere, they are expected to focus on training instead of the Ballon d’Or award ceremony.