A Dance of Giants: Messi, Bellingham, Saka, and Haaland
Lionel Messi, known to many as the celestial footballer from Argentina, is once again primed to make history. With an unmatched collection of seven Ballons d’Or, he’s the favourite to clinch an eighth, particularly after hoisting the World Cup. But Messi isn’t alone in the spotlight; the stage is brimming with talent.
England has beamed with pride as three of its own – Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, and Harry Kane – have been shortlisted for the esteemed 2023 Ballon d’Or. A year of footballing magic has seen Bellingham don the colours of Real Madrid, while Kane took his predatory instincts to Bayern Munich.
Manchester City: The Epicentre of Talent
“Treble-winning Manchester City” isn’t just a phrase, it’s an accolade, a testament to their phenomenal year. A jaw-dropping seven of their talents are up for the honour. Notably, Erling Haaland, who’s been shattering records for fun, Kevin de Bruyne with his surgical passes, and World Cup victor Julian Alvarez, among others. Even Josko Gvardiol, who wasn’t with City last season, has earned a spot on the list.
Intriguingly, Ilkay Gundogan, once a City stalwart but now sporting Barcelona’s crest, hasn’t been forgotten; he too is shortlisted.
Premier League’s Prolific
Beyond Manchester’s borders, the Premier League has showcased a cavalcade of stars. Arsenal’s prodigies, Saka and Martin Odegaard, Liverpool’s iconic Mohamed Salah, Manchester United’s custodian Andre Onana, and Aston Villa’s shot-stopper Emiliano Martinez, are all in the fray.
Messi’s seismic shift to Inter Miami from Paris St-Germain made global waves, as did the reigning champion Karim Benzema’s switch from Real Madrid to Al-Ittihad. There’s a melancholic air too, with five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo missing from the list for the first time in two decades.
Shining Young Stars and Guardians of the Net
The future is bright as Bellingham, once of Borussia Dortmund and now with Real Madrid, is a leading contender for the Kopa Trophy – a recognition for the best young talent. Rasmus Hojlund, Manchester United’s recent acquisition, joins him in this race.
When it comes to the unsung heroes, the guardians between the posts, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale stands tall among Premier League contenders for the Yashin Trophy. Alongside him, we see the likes of Onana, Manchester City’s Ederson, and Argentina’s World Cup-winning keeper, Martinez.
Ballon d’Or nominees
Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City, Croatia)
Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich, Germany)
Andre Onana (Manchester United, Cameroon)
Karim Benzema (Al-Ittihad, France)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egypt)
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal, England)
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium)
Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid, England)
Randal Kolo Muani (Paris St-Germain, France)
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City, Portugal)
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli, Georgia)
Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan, Italy)
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa, Argentina)
Ruben Dias (Manchester City, Portugal)
Erling Haaland (Manchester City, Norway)
Martin Odegaard (Arsenal, Norway)
Ilkay Gundogan (Barcelona, Germany)
Yassine Bounou (Sevilla, Morocco)
Julian Alvarez (Manchester City, Argentina)
Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid, Brazil)
Rodri (Manchester City, Spain)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid, France)
Lionel Messi (Inter Miami, Argentina)
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan, Argentina)
Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona, Poland)
Kim Min-jae (Bayern Munich, South Korea)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain, France)
Harry Kane (Bayern Munich, England)
Victor Osimhen (Napoli, Nigeria)