The nominees for the 67th Ballon d'Or have been announced, with Lionel Messi hot favourite to be crowned the best footballer in the world from the 2022-23 season.
The Ballon d'Or takes place on 29th October where Karim Benzema is reigning champion, but the Frenchman looks unlikely to recapture his crown, with Messi set to secure a record eighth gong.
Ballon d'Or odds:
|Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d'Or||1/6|
|Erling Haaland to win the Ballon d'Or||7/2|
|Vinicius Jr to win the Ballon d'Or||50/1|
|Kevin De Bruyne to win the Ballon d'Or||50/1|
|Rodri to win the Ballon d'Or||50/1|
Ballon d'Or nominees:
|André Onana||Manchester United/Cameroon|
|Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid/France|
|Bernardo Silva||Manchester City/Portugal|
|Emiliano Martínez||Aston Villa/Argentina|
|Erling Haaland||Manchester City/Norway|
|Harry Kane||Bayern Munich/England|
|Jamal Musiala||Bayern Munich/Germany|
|Josko Gvardiol||Manchester City/Croatia|
|Jude Bellingham||Real Madrid/England|
|Julián Álvarez||Manchester City/Argentina|
|Karim Benzema||Al Ittihad|
|Kevin De Bruyne||Manchester City/Belgium|
|Kim Min-jae||Napoli/South Korea|
|Kylian Mbappé||Paris Saint-Germain/France|
|Lautaro Martínez||Inter Milan/Argentina|
|Lionel Messi||Inter Miami/Argentina|
|Luka Modric||Real Madrid/Croatia|
|Nicolo Barella||Inter Milan/Italy|
|Randal Kolo Muani||Paris Saint-Germain/France|
|Rúben Dias||Manchester City/Portugal|
|Vinícius Júnior||Real Madrid/Brazil|
|Yassine Bounou||Al Hilal/Morocco|
Previous Ballon d'Or winners:
|1957||Alfredo Di Stéfano||Real Madrid||72|
|1958||Raymond Kopa||Real Madrid||71|
|1959||Alfredo Di Stéfano||Real Madrid||80|
|1962||Josef Masopust||Dukla Prague||65|
|1963||Lev Yashin||Dynamo Moscow||73|
|1964||Denis Law||Manchester United||61|
|1966||Bobby Charlton||Manchester United||81|
|1968||George Best||Manchester United||61|
|1970||Gerd Müller||Bayern Munich||77|
|1972||Franz Beckenbauer||Bayern Munich||81|
|1975||Oleg Blokhin||Dynamo Kyiv||122|
|1976||Franz Beckenbauer||Bayern Munich||91|
|1977||Allan Simonsen||Borussia Mönchengladbach||74|
|1978||Kevin Keegan||Hamburger SV||87|
|1979||Kevin Keegan||Hamburger SV||118|
|1980||Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||Bayern Munich||122|
|1981||Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||Bayern Munich||106|
|1986||Igor Belanov||Dynamo Kyiv||84|
|1988||Marco van Basten||Milan||129|
|1989||Marco van Basten||Milan||129|
|1990||Lothar Matthäus||Inter Milan||137|
|1992||Marco van Basten||Milan||98|
|1996||Matthias Sammer||Borussia Dortmund||144|
|2000||Luís Figo||Real Madrid||197|
|2006||Fabio Cannavaro||Real Madrid||173|
|2008||Cristiano Ronaldo||Manchester United||446|
|2013||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||27.99%|
|2014||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||37.66%|
|2016||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||745|
|2017||Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||946|
|2018||Luka Modrić||Real Madrid||753|
|2021||Lionel Messi||Paris Saint-Germain||613|
|2022||Karim Benzema||Real Madrid||549|
Below, we analyse the key contenders to see if anyone can stop Messi from once again making football history.
Ballon d'Or odds - 1/12
Lionel Messi holds the record for most Ballon d'Or wins, taking home the famous trophy seven times, in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.
The Argentinian is two clear of his rival Cristiano Ronaldo and is a short-priced favourite to increase that lead with victory in the 2023 edition following a dramatic campaign that saw the 36-year-old finally secure the World Cup.
Messi, who had fallen short at four previous World Cups, eventually lifted the trophy in an end-to-end final in Qatar, where he netted twice against Kylian Mbappe and France before his team won via penalty shootout, in which Messi found the net.
The forward netted seven times in the tournament, becoming the first player ever to win two Golden Ball trophies and breaking the record for most games played at a World Cup, 26, in the process.
The victory meant that Argentina secured their first World Cup title since 1986 and ensured that Messi had ticked off almost all international and domestic trophies he had played in.
At 36 years old it was almost certainly the former Barcelona man’s last opportunity to win the World Cup and he wrapped it up in an ending more suited to a Hollywood film.
A disappointing season with Paris Saint Germain doesn’t seem to have hurt Messi’s chances of securing the Ballon d'Or again and his recent move to Inter Miami started in the best possible way, scoring a late winning free kick on his debut before two goals and an assist in his second match.
Given the popularity of Messi and the achievement of finally winning a World Cup in as dramatic fashion as possible, it is not hard to see why the Argentinian is so short to secure football’s top award once more.
Ballon d'Or odds - 13/2
Manchester City had conquered all comers in English football but before last season had never secured Champions League glory before signing Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
The Norwegian broke records left, right and centre for his new side, netting 36 goals in the Premier League as the Citizens won their fifth title in the last six seasons.
Pep Guardiola’s side also took home the FA Cup after beating rivals Manchester United in the final and finally secured continental glory thanks to a Champions League final victory over Inter Milan.
Haaland netted 52 goals in total in his 53 games in his first season for Manchester City, including 12 in the 11 game run that saw his side win the Champions League.
The 23-year-old is a clear second-favourite to Messi to win the Ballon d'Or, but does he have enough to usurp the front runner?
Ballon d'Or odds - 50/1
Vinicius Jr landed in this year’s Champions League Team of the Season after netting seven times in 12 games in the tournament and continued that stellar form into the FIFA Club World Cup, where he secured both the Golden Ball and the tournament’s best player award.
He also netted his first ever goal at the World Cup for his country but Real Madrid missed out on the La Liga title and that may hurt his Ballon d'Or chances.
Ballon d'Or odds - 50/1
One of the key players of the Pep Guardiola era at Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne played an instrumental role in the Citizens securing their treble, netting ten times in 49 matches and registering 26 assists in all competitions.
A disappointing World Cup campaign for the Belgian however, where he struggled with injuries, could count against him in this company.
Ballon d'Or odds - 50/1
Rodri once again showed his worth to Manchester City with a season of solid performances and crucial goals on their way to securing the treble.
The Spaniard netted four goals and registered six assists in all competitions but netted the crucial winner in the Champions League final to forever etch himself into Manchester City folklore as the player to win the club their first European trophy.
However Spain falling short in Qatar could be an issue for his chances of Ballon d'Or glory, alongside the fact that the other contenders are much more headline-making in their roles.