The most prolific Ballon d’Or victor in the famous ‘Golden Ball’s’ prestigious history; Lionel Messi, is the current outlying favorite to win the award for a whopping eighth go round, after guiding Argentina to a FIFA World Cup win in Qatar against holders, France.
Messi, who captained his national side to FIFA World Cup glory last month in the dessert in a Qatar-hosted Coupe du Monde, managed to not just convert from the spot in the resulting penalty shoot out – but managed to net twice himself in regulation time, despite a hat trick of goals from Parisian teammate, Kylian Mbappe.
The Argentine star has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or on a staggering four separate occasions already during an unrivaled professional career – spanning the youth setup in his native Argentina, as well as a gold laden spell at FC Barcelona, before a surprising move to Paris Saint Germain.
Landing a spectacular seven Ballon d’Or wins between 2009 and 2021, Messi first achieved the award as part of a phenomenal FC Barcelona side, minting themselves as European Champions with a Rome win over Manchester United.
In the time since, Messi has stood proud of the often-compared Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Portuguese native himself netting five Ballon d’Or titles – two proud of the following trio of Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, and Marco van Basten.
At the time of publication, bookies and markets place Messi as short as 2/7 to win a staggering eighth Ballon d’Or award, far ahead of Kylian Mbappe (7/2), Erling Haaland (11/1), and Robert Lewandowski (22/1) – who would all land their maidan award should their gazump outright favorite, Messi. £20 no deposit bonus
While Messi’s height continues to rise as he looks to land yet another Ballon d’Or triumph, the Argentine’s next closest rival to the award; Cristiano Ronaldo, has been put out to pasture by many within the footballing world – trading Manchester United for a shock move to Saudi Arabian side, Al-Nassr recently, following Portugal’s exit from the FIFA World Cup.
Set to land a ludicrous wage in a move to the Middle East, the ageing forward, who left Old Trafford and Erik ten Hag’s side on less than gentle terms – has been ridiculed for his big-money deal with the club, considering Saudi Arabia’s well-documented string of human rights violations, and attempt at sports washing.
Messi’s continuance at the precipice of modern-day football, competing in a Paris Saint Germain side who look to topple Europe’s elite for the first time and clinch a UEFA Champions League crown this season, paired with his heralded capture of an elusive World Cup for the first time since the passing of Diego, has already separated him firmly in many’s eyes from Ronaldo.
Expected to land a first Ballon d’Or since a spirited effort from Real Madrid frontman and French international, Karim Benzema last year, in what proved to be a UEFA Champions League winning season for Los Blancos, Messi has also been tipped to land a gleaming, Super Ballon d’Or – which has only previously been awarded to Alfredo di Stefano back in 1989, who guided Madrid to five consecutive European Cups.