"A huge debate" - Robbie Savage makes bold claim on Lionel Messi vs Erling Haaland Ballon d'Or 2023 race

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland
Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland have emerged as the top contenders for the 2023 Ballon d'Or award following their incredible exploits over the last couple of months.

Commenting on the duo's battle, former Premier League star Robbie Savage has made a bold claim that the Argentine will beat his rival to claim the accolade.

It goes without saying that Erling Haaland has been backed by many to win this year's Ballon d'Or award after leading Manchester City to a treble last year. The Norwegian finished the term with a whopping 52 goals and nine assists in 53 appearances across all competitions. He was also recently honored with the UEFA Player Of The Year award.

Lionel Messi, meanwhile, put himself in pole position to claim another Ballon d'Or award after making history at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Argentine was sensational, bagging seven goals and three assists to lead his nation to claim the trophy while picking up the World Cup Golden Ball.

At club level, Messi contributed 21 goals and 20 assists to help Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) claim both the Ligue 1 title and the French Super Cup.

With both superstars having bagged remarkable numbers and achievements and pulling massive support, Robbie Savage believes this year's Ballon d'Or will be highly debated. He told Planet Sport:

“Can Erling Haaland feel aggrieved? Winning the Premier League, winning the Champions League. Is that a better achievement than winning a World Cup? You know, there's a big debate what's harder to win the Champions League or a World Cup."
“That's a huge debate. You have to beat some of the best teams in the world to win a Champions League. Do you have to beat some of the best teams in the world to win a World Cup? It's a huge debate."

He continued:

“I think personally, this is just my opinion, to win the Champions League now is harder than to win a World Cup. People will say ‘what do I know’ I've never competed in either of them, but that's my opinion.

The former Premier League star went on to explain why Lionel Messi will win the 2023 Ballon d'Or despite Erling Haaland's incredible exploits. The Welshman said:

“So Halland or Messi? I think the voting will go to Messi because the World Cup, which eluded him, he's won it with his teammates. I think Messi will win it but if you're looking at Man City doing the treble, look at the impact Erling Haaland had in his first season in the Premier League. Man City couldn’t win the Champions League, but they did it with Haaland there, so for me, Haaland should win it, but I think Messi will."

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland going strong this season amid 2023 Ballon d'Or battle

Lionel Messi is in pole position to claim the award
Lionel Messi is in pole position to claim the award

While the world continues to wait for the outcome of the Ballon d'Or, Messi and Haaland have entered the new season explosively, justifying why they're the leading contenders for the accolade with their incredible performances.

The Norwegian has returned to doing what he does best in the Premier League this term. So far, he's bagged six goals and one assist for Manchester City in four league appearances and has already climbed to the top of the goal-scoring charts.

The Argentine, meanwhile, has had an instant impact at Inter Miami, who he joined this summer. He's bagged 11 goals and five assists for the MLS side in 11 games across all competitions following his arrival. Messi also led the club to their first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup, last month.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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