LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Erling Haaland is undeniably a top contender for the 2023 Ballon d’Or, but even Norway’s national team coach acknowledges that Lionel Messi deserves the award.
Manchester City striker Haaland had an outstanding season, scoring 52 goals across all competitions and helping his club secure a Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup treble.
However, Messi’s remarkable performance led Argentina to World Cup victory in Qatar 2022, marking a record-breaking addition to his trophy collection.
The 36-year-old South American has continued to shine with Inter Miami since his move to the United States, further strengthening his claim for an eighth Ballon d’Or.
While it might be expected that Norway’s coach, Stale Solbakken, would favor Haaland in such a discussion, given his work with the prolific 23-year-old at the international level, he expressed his preference when asked for his choice:
“If you ask me who I think will win, I will say Messi will win it thanks to his World Cup triumph. It still has an impact.”
Haaland, however, remains focused on his game rather than individual accolades and stated, “It’s a trick question.
“I’m definitely up there. Am I the best? Maybe. I know I can still improve a great deal. I’m still young. But yes, I believe I have a chance this year.”