Messi is also the only name to win this noble title with 3 different clubs. However, there is a record that is less talked about, but truly honors Messi’s value. The Argentine superstar became the player with the longest gap (14 years) between two Golden Ball wins.
8 Golden Balls in 14 years, spanning 3 decades, world football, even at the club level, has probably rarely witnessed such a long and continuous domination. Not to mention that the owner of that series of records is a player who, despite being hailed as a genius, encountered all sorts of worldly difficulties. There were times when I fell into the depths of despair and still shook off the mud and stood up again.
On the night of the 2023 Golden Ball award, there were regrets for Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
Haaland had an extraordinary season with Man City, winning the treble (Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup). The Norwegian striker scored 52 goals in 53 matches, winning the title of top scorer in the Premier League and Champions League. Kylian Mbappe also broke many milestones in Ligue 1. With 29 goals, the French striker won the top scorer position for Paris Saint-Germain. In the 2022 World Cup, Mbappe is also the player who scores the most goals in the tournament (8 goals), scoring a hat-trick in the final match between France and Argentina.
Both are also expected to create a new era of competition after the era of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, when they combine all the qualities: natural talent, professionalism, playing for strong teams, and starting their career. See stability and durability. These are factors that people who were predicted to “successor” Ronaldo and Messi such as Neymar, Gareth Bale or Eden Hazard have never fully converged.
However, although the future of Haaland and Mbappe racing two horses is very close, it is still a story of the future. During the awards night at Chatelet Theater (Paris, France), Messi’s scepter still stood there, calm and persistent. Why can Messi surpass Haaland, Mbappe, Kevin de Bruyne or Rodri (3 of these 4 players won the treble with Man City) to win the 2023 Golden Ball?
First of all, in a season with the World Cup, it is relatively easy to understand that achievements in this tournament (held every 4 years) are given priority over the Champions League (held annually). In the top 5 of the Golden Ball, Haaland did not participate in the World Cup, De Bruyne and the Belgian team were eliminated in the group stage due to an internal conflict scandal, and Rodri and the Spanish team were eliminated by Morocco in the round of 16.
The moment goalkeeper Martinez leaned forward to block Muani’s kick was shown and replayed many times during the Golden Ball awards ceremony as a mockery that the organizers of France Football (a French press publication) had for himself. France. However, it seems that the French themselves clearly understand that with just one word “if”, one can put Paris in a bottle. Messi’s greatness will not be determined and judged in just one moment, but needs knots to become complete. That is the knot that Mbappe lacks.
As for Haaland, the title “Best Goalscorer of the Year” (Gerd Muller) is not purely a consolation prize, but actually reflects the Norwegian striker’s 2022-2023 season. No one is better than Haaland at scoring goals, with 52 goals in 53 matches (an average of nearly 1 goal/match). But football is not only about scoring goals, and the winner of the Golden Ball needs more than that. Coach Pep Guardiola commented: “Haaland needs the support of all his teammates, while Messi can do everything by himself.”
Messi’s professional influence on Argentina’s championship journey is much greater than the mere number of 7 goals. The 36-year-old conductor is the owner of “crazy” moments, such as the long-range shot that burned into Mexico’s net, the solo dribble and then curled the ball to subdue Australia, and the classy assist through the gap for Nahuel Molina to score. net against the Netherlands, the rib-twisting dribble that eliminated top midfielder Joskol Gvardiol and then assisted Julian Alvarez to score, or the historic performance against France. Messi leads the 2022 World Cup in terms of shots (32) and shots on target (18), and the number of opportunities created in open situations (17).Among a team of equal class, Messi still knows how to shine. He scored goals, assisted, and was ready to shed his timid appearance and rush at his opponents to shame them. A player who raises the level of the whole team and creates boundless influence both professionally and spiritually, is obviously rated better than an also excellent scoring machine, but is only a piece of the puzzle in Man’s whole. City focuses more on philosophy and style of play than on any specific individual.
The gap between the first time and the last time Messi won the Golden Ball was 14 years, the first time was at the age of 22, and the current time is 36 years old. In the history of world football, no player has maintained his peak for as long as Messi, with records, titles, and personal achievements that are difficult to write down on just one page.
Messi has won the most titles at Barca, with 35 championships including 10 La Liga, 7 King’s Cups, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 4 Champions Leagues, 3 European Super Cups and 3 FIFA Club World Cups. He won 3 more titles at PSG, including two Ligue 1 and one French Super Cup. Messi won five titles with the Argentina team, including the World Cup, Copa America, Intercontinental Cup, U.20 World Cup and Olympic gold medal. Moving to Inter Miami, Messi continued to win the 2023 Leagues Cup with 10 goals, 1 assist, winning the title of best player in the tournament.
“El Pulga” is the embodiment of glory, and most of all, stability and perseverance at the peak of overcoming all human limitations. He and Ronaldo set a new standard for the next class, which as coach Pep Guardiola mentioned: “The Golden Ball should have two categories, one for Messi and one for the rest. Messi’s worst season is Best season for the remaining players”.
During PSG’s underrated season, only 4 players in the top 5 European leagues contributed more directly to goals than Messi (41 goals). The 36-year-old superstar scored 21 goals but did not have any goals from the 11 meter mark. According to Opta statistics, in the top 5 European leagues, Messi has 20 assists, only less than De Bruyne (28 assists). Messi has set such a high standard that, if the Argentine midfielder is bad, he is bad compared to his former self. Compared to the majority of the football world, Messi is still very different.
“Messi seems to be getting further and further away from humanity and closer to the limit of the gods. The 8th Golden Ball is the recognition that brings him closer to the top of football’s Olympus. The legacy that Messi leaves behind is legendary, with football like a work displayed in a museum. Messi always craves glory, persistently pursues his passion with his relentless legs, then extends his personal record and brings home many achievements. new glory”, AS newspaper evaluated.