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Jérôme Rotten: Messi award critique, favors Erling Haaland

Posted : 03 November 2023
While many celebrated Leo Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or win on Monday, former French footballer Jérôme Rotten expressed his discontent, suggesting that Erling Haaland deserved the award more. Rotten stated, "Awarding Messi the Ballon d'Or is regrettable. I believe Erling Haaland should have been the winner. Messi wasn't the best player globally from August 2022 to July 2023, and he wasn't even the best in his own team. Despite winning the World Cup, he hasn't accumulated as many titles as Haaland, who set numerous records. Messi hasn't held the title of the world's best player for three or four years."

Messi, at 36, became the second-oldest player to win the Ballon d'Or, with England's Stanley Matthews being the oldest at 41 in 1956. He is also the first recipient representing a non-European team and the only one to win the award in three different decades. The rankings included Erling Haaland, who led Manchester City to a memorable treble and broke the Premier League single-season goal record (36), and Kylian Mbappé, who scored a spectacular goal in the World Cup final. Fourth place was occupied by Kevin De Bruyne, and fifth by Rodri.

During his acceptance speech, Messi paid tribute to Diego Maradona, saying, "Today is his birthday, and I can't think of a better place to wish him good luck. In this room, there are footballers, coaches, and people who loved football just as much as he did. During the Qatar World Cup, Diego cheered us on from the heavens. So, wherever you are, happy birthday, Diego; this win is for you and for all of Argentina."


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