Brazilian star Ronaldo Nazario has chosen the man he believes should win the Ballon d’Or in 2023.
The Ballon d’Or will henceforth be awarded based on season-long performance rather than calendar-year performance.
The current season begins on August 1, 2022, and ends on July 31, 2023. The event will be held on October 30 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, and the nominees will be revealed on September 6.
Lionel Messi became the overwhelming favorite to win the prized individual award after leading Argentina to their first World Cup triumph since 1986 in December.
In his fifth (and possibly final) World Cup, the 35-year-old, who will leave Paris Saint-Germain for Inter Miami this summer, has realized his lifelong dream of becoming a world champion.
Messi is now up against Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City, who have won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League with the club.
Ilkay Gundogan and Julian Alvarez (who won the World Cup with Messi) from Manchester City may potentially be considered.
Outside of Man City, other contenders include Kylian Mbappe, who became only the second player in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, and Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid.
Who does Ronaldo believe deserves to win the Ballon d’Or in 2023?
Despite the competition, Ronaldo believes Messi is the player who deserves it the best because of his outstanding World Cup performance in Qatar.
Ronaldo told @AlbicelesteTalk, “Messi deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.” I believe he will be crowned.
“He won the World Cup, which is a very big tournament.”
While some football fans believe Messi hasn’t done enough at club level this season to merit a record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo clearly disagrees.
Ronaldo, one of the greatest strikers of all time, ran with Messi in February at FIFA’s The Best Awards.
“Congratulations on the World Cup, how beautiful, eh?” said the former Brazil international to Messi.
“You earned it. I’m overjoyed for you…”
Brazil and Argentina have a strong rivalry, particularly in football, but it’s evident that Ronaldo has a great deal of respect and adoration for the Argentine who is often recognized as the best player of all time.