Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) attacker Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or a record seven times. He was left out of the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist this time around after a rather ordinary debut season at PSG by his own lofty standards.
Galtier has implemented a new system at PSG and it seems to be working wonders for them. They have won their first three games of the new Ligue 1 season by a combined scoreline of 17-2.
He's got the PSG attack doing the things they were expected to do last season and the trio of Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jr. look unstoppable right now. Messi has turned on the style in the new campaign after being shifted to a new position.
If he can kick on in the same way, Messi is likely to become PSG's most influential player over the course of the next year. If he can manage that, he'll definitely be a top contender for the 2023 Ballon d'Or.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five reasons why Messi's positional change at PSG can help him win another Ballon d'Or.
#5 New position plays to Messi's strengths
Having turned 35 this summer, Messi is no longer the pacy forward who can make lung-busting runs all game. He has definitely lost a yard of pace in recent times. The former Barcelona man was always tipped to become an elite playmaker in the final phase of his career.
Messi is a well-rounded footballer whose playmaking qualities have always been exemplary. However, he was simply unstoppable in the final third with his burst of pace and exquisite dribbling skills when he was younger. So his playmaking abilities were viewed as secondary.
In PSG's new system, Messi plays as an attacking midfielder. The primary qualities he needs to possess are vision, passing range, the ability to link up well with his teammates and score goals. The Argentinian icon is a master at these skills.
#4 Keeps him fresh for Argentina matches
Messi was usually deployed down the right wing up until now in his career. Playing as a wide forward involves a lot of running. At this age, it would be difficult for Messi to play on the flanks week in and week out.
He has to run much less when he is playing as an attacking midfielder. This keeps him fresh for Argentina during international breaks. As a result, Messi will be able to contribute abundantly for both club and country.
#3 Messi will have more goal contributions to help him in the Ballon d'Or race
One of the reasons why Messi struggled in his debut season at PSG was that he was not exactly involved in attack as much as he would have loved to. Neymar and Mbappe had gotten used to playing alongside each other over the course of four seasons by the time Messi arrived.
Stationed out wide on the right wing, Messi struggled to get involved extensively in everything that PSG constructed in the final third. Now that he is being deployed in a more central role, most attacks go through him. This means that he will have more goal contributions than he did last term.
In four matches across all competitions so far this season, he has already scored four goals and provided two assists. That rate of goal contributions has earned Messi several Ballon d'Or awards in the past.
#2 PSG favorites in Europe courtesy of their new attacking formula
The Champions League title holds a lot of weightage when it comes to the Ballon d'Or. Paris Saint-Germain have looked indomitable in the new season so far. They recruited well this summer and have managed to offload quite a few players who had been deemed surplus to requirements as well.
Although it's still early days, PSG's squad strength and the efficiency they've shown in every area of the pitch so far makes them favorites in Europe. The attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Mbappe are likely to prove too hot to handle for most European sides.
If they can win the Champions League title and Messi plays a starring role in it, he will greatly boost his chances of winning another Ballon d'Or.
#1 Likely to win more trophies with PSG this season
Messi won the Ligue 1 title in his debut season at Paris Saint-Germain. He is likely to do much better on the trophy front this season given how dominant the Parisians have looked in the opening stages of the new campaign.
The richer the trophy cabinet, in addition to his individual contributions, the greater Messi's chances of taking home another Ballon d'Or. Mbappe and Neymar are in sublime form as well and it's hard to see them being kept quiet in any game the way they are playing right now.