Kylian Mbappe: “I will be voting for Leo Messi in the Ballon d’Or poll. In individual terms he was the best player this year and he deserves to win the award.”

Ballon d’Or 2023 Power Rankings: Lionel Messi set to pip Erling Haaland to eighth Golden Ball as France Football reveals full list of nominees

The shortlist for the 2023 prize has been announced – so who is in the running to win the famous trophy?

The 2023 Ballon d’Or awards ceremony is almost upon us, with some of the world’s best footballers among the nominees to succeed 2022 winner Karim Benzema in lifting the Golden Ball in Paris on October 30.

It promised to be a unique Ballon d’Or battle, with the World Cup taking place in the middle of the 2022-23 campaign, meaning it could be a distant memory by the time the votes were cast in August. There is no doubt, however, that playing a starring role in Qatar boosted some players’ chances of competing for the Golden Ball, even with the winners of domestic and European titles grabbing the late-season attention.

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Who, then, has put themselves in the frame for the biggest individual honour of them now that we finally have all the nominations? Join GOAL as our 12-month Ballon d’Or Power Rankings journey comes to a conclusion…

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20. Kim Min-jae (Napoli)

2022-23: 18 clean sheets, Serie A winner

Kim Min-jae proved to be one of the best signings of summer 2022. He immediately looked at home in Italy and helped Napoli end their painful wait for a Serie A title.

Although Napoli’s attacking stars have attracted the majority of the plaudits, Kim’s influence cannot be understated. The perfect modern defender, his blend of technique and physicality provided Napoli with the idea platform to romp to the title.

Had South Korea upset the odds at the World Cup and advanced past the round of 16, Kim – who has since joined Bayern Munich – would have had a strong chance of moving up this list.


19. Harry Kane (Tottenham)

In 2022-23: 40 goals, nine assists, captained England at World Cup

Despite Tottenham enduring an utterly miserable season, Harry Kane still delivered the goods for his side.

He ended the campaign with a stunning 30 Premier League goals, which would have been enough to win the Golden Boot if it wasn’t for the record-smashing antics of a particular Norwegian.

His World Cup wasn’t perfect, with his heartbreaking penalty miss against France in the quarter-finals a case in point. However, he still netted twice in the tournament, as well as laying on three assists. Not quite enough to claim the Ballon d’Or, but still a stellar year.


18. Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

In 2022-23: 22 clean sheets, World Cup winner and World Cup Golden Glove winner

Aston Villa aren’t used to seeing their players nominated for the Ballon d’Or, which is testament to the crazy year Emiliano Martinez experienced. After nailing down the Argentina No.1 jersey with a strong start to the club season, he saw his country through two dramatic penalty shootouts en route to World Cup glory.

His antics in the final were controversial, which meant that his unbelievable save to deny Randal Kolo Muani an extra-time winner has been somewhat forgotten. But make no mistake, Martinez brought unbridled joy to his country through his performances in the competition.

He fully deserved the World Cup Golden Glove and ended the club season strongly too, helping Villa book their place in Europe.


17. Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

In 2022-23: Seven assists, 15 goals, PFA Team of the Year inductee

Captain fantastic Martin Odegaard enjoyed his best ever season last time out, finally proving that the hype when he broke through as a teenager had been well deserved.

No player typified Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal more than the Norwegian and he consistently popped up with vital goals and assists as the Gunners mounted an unlikely Premier League title charge.

Norway’s absence from the World Cup will hurt his chances of finishing higher on the rankings, though.


16. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

In 2022-23: 22 goals, 14 assists.

Much like Arsenal as a collective, Bukayo Saka’s form dropped off at the exact wrong time for the Gunners as their title challenge evaporated in a matter of weeks.

Despite that, the England winger deserves to be among those on the 30-man shortlist, and expect this to be the first of many Ballon d’Or nominations.

15. Lautaro Martinez (Inter)

In 2022-23: 29 goals, 12 assists. Won World Cup, Coppa Italia & Supercoppa Italiana.

Lautaro Martinez may have fluffed his lines in Istanbul, as he wasted a great opportunity to give Inter the lead in the Champions League final before Manchester City got their noses in front and refused to give their lead up.

However, given his goalscoring record in Serie A last season, his two goals to win the Coppa Italia and his (admittedly bit-part) role in Argentina’s World Cup win, he deserves to be recognised.

14. Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)

In 2022-23: 15 goals, nine assists.

One can only theorise as to whether Borussia Dortmund would have won the Bundesliga title had Jude Bellingham been fit for the final day of the season, but there’s no doubt that the teenager’s performances were the driving force behind BVB getting so close.

Named Bundesliga Player of the Season, his hot start to life at Real Madrid will have helped remind the judges just what an amazing talent the England midfielder is.

13. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)

In 2022-23: 16 goals, 17 assists. Won Serie A.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s form wasn’t the same in 2023 as it was before the turn of the year, but Napoli fans will not care given the role he played in them winning their first Scudetto since 1990.

The Georgian winger, nicknamed ‘Kvaradona’ was one of the signings of the season in European football, and remains one of the trickiest wingers to defend against anywhere on the continent.


12. Karim Benzema (Al-Ittihad)

In 2022-23: 31 goals, six assists. Won Copa del Rey, Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

There will be no Ballon d’Or for Karim Benzema this year as the reigning Golden Ball holder was powerless to help Real Madrid reach yet another Champions League final or win La Liga.

It remains to be seen whether this proves to be his final Ballon d’Or nomination or not, with players in the Saudi Pro League in danger of being forgotten about by the Euro-centric judging panel.


11. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

In 2022-23: 10 goals, eight assists. Won Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Bernardo Silva is not a regular goalscorer, but he does score his fair share of big goals, and few were bigger than the pair he scored to set City on their way to beating Real Madrid and securing their spot in the Champions League final.

City keeping hold of the Portugal international this summer was arguably their best bit of business of the whole transfer window, such is his importance to Pep Guardiola’s side.

10. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

In 2022-23: 36 goals, 11 assists. Won La Liga & Supercopa de Espana.

Robert Lewandowski’s chances of ever getting his hands on the Ballon d’Or might now have gone, but he did at least keep up his superb record of winning league titles by firing Barca back to the top of Spanish football.

That he managed it despite the odd lull in form is testament to his ability and longevity having just turned 35.

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9. Julian Alvarez (Manchester City)

In 2022-23: 23 goals, six assists. Won World Cup, Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Only six Premier League players scored more goals in all competitions than Julian Alvarez in 2022-23 as he proved that he needs to be more than just a back-up for Man City going forward.

For now, he can be content with finishing as the most-decorated footballer on the planet for the 2022-23 campaign, and though performances are meant to trump trophies when it comes to Ballon d’Or voting, the Argentina forward can claim to have provided both over the course of the season.


8. Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

In 2022-23: 33 goals, five assists. Won Serie A.

Victor Osimhen will forever be immortalised in Naples after his goal sealed the Partenopei’s first Serie A title for 33 years, and it was only right after the season he had that the Nigerian striker was the man to finish the job.

Somewhat surprisingly, Osimhen was kept from the clutches of Europe’s elite during the transfer window, and has already made a fast start to the new campaign.


7. Ilkay Gundogan (Barcelona)

In 2022-23: 13 goals, seven assists. Won Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

If Barcelona find themselves needing someone to come up clutch late in the season, then they could not have signed a more ideal player than Ilkay Gundogan, who regularly showed up in the biggest moments during his Manchester City career.

The midfielder’s pair of braces against Leeds and Everton late last season effectively sealed the Premier League title for City, before his stunning double at Wembley proved to be the difference in the FA Cup final win over Manchester United.

6. Rodri (Manchester City)

In 2022-23: Four goals, seven assists. Won Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Nations League & FA Cup.

The best holding midfielder in the world? Rodri may well have earned that honour now, with the Spain international having become a hugely consistent performer for Man City.

No outfield player started more than his 52 games for City in 2022-23, and he saved the best for last, netting the winning goal in the Champions League final.


5. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

In 2022-23: 10 goals, 32 assists. Won Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Thirty-two assists! Kevin De Bruyne truly is the best playmaker of his generation, and the way he rounded into form over the course of last season was key to City hitting the heights they did over the final few months of the campaign.

His injury luck in Champions League finals may not be the best, but at least the Belgian finished on the winning side this time to finally get his hands on the European Cup.


4. Vinicius Jr. (Real Madrid)

Last time: 4th

In 2022-23: 25 goals, 26 assists. Won Copa del Rey, Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

Given everything that Vinicius Jr. had to put up with from opposition fans in Spain over the course of the 2022-23 season, his form was superb, with it now confirmed that he is among that small group that can be dubbed world-class.

Falling short in the Champions League will likely mean he misses out on the Ballon d’Or podium this time around, but everything about the Brazilian profiles as a future winner of the award.


3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

In 2022-23: 55 goals, 14 assists. Won Ligue 1.

Kylian Mbappe himself believes he has done enough to win the Ballon d’Or in 2023, and it isn’t difficult to build a case for him to do just that. He scored over 50 goals for club and country, won yet another league title, and won the Golden Boot at the World Cup after scoring a hat-trick in the final.

However, coming up short in Qatar and the lack of a deep Champions League run is likely to cost him what feels like an inevitable first Ballon d’Or this time around.

2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

In 2022-23: 56 goals, nine assists. Won Champions League, Premier League & FA Cup.

Erling Haaland broke countless records over the course of last season, and there was a time in late April that it seemed inevitable he would move to the top of the Ballon d’Or rankings come the end of the campaign.

However, a run of just one goal in his final eight games of the campaign for Man City means he will likely come up short in 2023, even though it was his efforts that played a massive role in Pep Guardiola’s side winning the treble.

1. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami)

Last time: 1st

In 2022-23: 42 goals, 26 assists. Won World Cup, Ligue 1 & Trophee des Champions.

Lionel Messi did his best to throw an eighth Ballon d’Or away with his stuttering form during the second half of the 2022-23 season, but in the end his iconic World Cup win is likely to be enough to earn him yet another Golden Ball.

With it now more likely than ever that he is done with European football, though, does it mean it will be his eighth and final win of the award? His early form for Inter Miami suggests he can still produce unstoppable performances regardless.

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