Erling Haaland told to snub Ballon d'Or ceremony forever if Lionel Messi wins 2023 award


Erling Haaland told to snub Ballon d'Or ceremony forever if Lionel Messi wins 2023 award

Erling Haaland has been told to snub the Ballon d’Or ceremony forever should Lionel Messi win the award later this year.

On Wednesday the Ballon d’Or released its 30-man shortlist for the annual gong, with the winner set to be revealed in Paris on October 30.

Notably, for the first time in 20 years, there is no place on the list for five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who endured a poor Qatar World Cup before moving to the Saudi Pro League in January.

However, his long-time rival Messi, who has picked up the award a record seven times, is already many people’s favourite to claim the top prize.

Indeed, despite having moved to the MLS after a disappointing end to his two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain, the 36-year-old capped off his trophy-laden career by inspiring Argentina to World Cup glory back in December.

Haaland is likely to be Messi’s closest competitor, having scored a remarkable 52 goals in his debut season for Manchester City and winning the treble. The Norway international is one of seven City players to have made the 30-person shortlist.

And former Chelsea and Scotland midfielder Craig Burley insisted that should Haaland miss out on the award to Messi, the 23-year-old should snub the ceremony for the rest of his career.

“If Erling Haaland doesn’t win this, close the shop,” Burley told ESPN.

“Lionel Messi won the World Cup and it’s a great achievement, but it’s a four-week period. His general league form was not the best. PSG were terrible.

“Erling Haaland? Over 50 goals, a Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the Champions League. Erling Haaland should win this award. I know that a lot of people out there can’t get off the Messi bandwagon but look at the bigger picture.

“There’s going to be a lot of muppet journos voting for Messi. The big picture here is that Erling Haaland achieved everything over a long period of time.

“This award, like a few awards, drives me nuts but he’s the one that deserves it but I think out there it will be full of sentimental claptrap - Messi won the World Cup, Messi’s this and Messi’s that, and they will just hand him another one.

“And if I was Erling Haaland, I would never go back to another Ballon d’Or in my life, same as Robert Lewandowski.”
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