The contest for the 2023 Ballon d’Or has already taken the form of a conflict between an incumbent superstar and one of his likely successors.
At age 35, Lionel Messi is still in contention for the individual trophy and is still a strong contender to win a record-breaking eighth championship.
Erling Haaland of Manchester City will, however, have a few things to say about the election in October.
Shortly after Messi won his seventh award in 2021, L’Equipe, the publication in charge of planning the annual gala honoring the best individual performances, proposed modifications to the Ballon d’Or criteria.
The parameters that were utilized to determine the winners have frequently drawn criticism.
In 2022, when Karim Benzema, a former Real Madrid star, won, the French magazine attempted to allay some of these worries by imposing new changes that went into force at that time.
1. Based on season, not year
Prior to the 2022 election, the vote was always based on performances from January through December of a calendar year. The voting will now follow the standard season, which typically runs from August to July of the following year, under the new regulations.
Because the 2022 World Cup would not have been utilized to choose the 2023 winner under the previous regulation, Messi and Benzema would have competed for the 2022 prize, giving Haaland a strong chance to win this year.
2. Lesser votes for member countries
Previously, votes could be cast by almost all FIFA members. Only the top 100 FIFA-ranked countries and the top 50 countries in the women’s vote remained after this was condensed.
Currently, 20 African nations will be able to vote for the winner of 2023.
3. Parameters used by Ballon d’Or
Individual performance has frequently been prioritized by the Ballon d’Or over group accomplishments.
According to L’Equipe, this will continue in full force going ahead, with voters being urged to consider a player’s individual performance before considering what he or she accomplished with the team. The players’ skill level and feeling of fair play will be the other factors.
By this measure, Messi appears to be ahead of Haaland going into the 2023 election. Messi may have 38 goals compared to the Norwegian’s 52 goals in 53 contests, but the Argentinean delivered in crucial matches on the way to the World Cup title.
In contrast to Haaland, who was named the Premier League Player of the Season, the new Inter Miami star also took home FIFA’s The Best title. The Manchester City striker also earned the Triple Crown, but some could argue that the World Cup trophy outshines that in terms of overall accomplishments.
4. Involvement of specialists for nominees
Traditionally, the magazine’s editorial team would produce the list of finalists. For the Ballon d’Or, 30 players are frequently selected, while 20 more are selected for the Kopa Trophy.
However, L’Équipe added more experts starting in 2022 and moving forward, including Didier Drogba, the 2012 Champions League winner. It is anticipated that they will enlist a range of experts to aid in choosing the nominees and ultimate winners.