LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – Shaun Wright-Phillips is still unhappy with Lionel Messi’s 2023 Ballon d’Or win over Erling Haaland, asserting that the final vote was “unjust.”
The 36-year-old Inter Miami forward secured his record-breaking eighth Golden Ball in Paris, leaving Manchester City’s Haaland in the shadows.
Messi’s World Cup triumph with Argentina in Qatar made him the favorite for the prestigious individual award.
Nevertheless, Wright-Phillips argues that the Norwegian striker should have received the honor, given his record-breaking goal-scoring feats and City’s historic treble in 2022–23.
“I firmly believe Erling Haaland should have won the Ballon d’Or this year,” said the former Manchester City star to NewBettingSites.uk.
“While Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the greatest of all time, this award has always been based on individual achievements, and Haaland has broken all the existing records.
“The number of goals he scored for Manchester City last season was simply incredible. For him not to win the award because Messi won the World Cup with Argentina seems a bit harsh because Haaland represents Norway, a nation that didn’t even participate in the competition, so it’s not entirely fair.”
The football community remains divided on whether Messi deserves the award. While legends like Thierry Henry have supported the Barcelona icon, several others, including Jerome Rothen and Lothar Matthaus, have described the award as a “disgrace” and a “farce,” claiming that the “undeserving” Messi was unwarranted in receiving the prize.
Haaland will return to action against Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, while Messi is enjoying a break after Inter Miami failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs.
However, the forward will be in action during the November international break as Argentina faces Uruguay and Brazil in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.