Lionel Mes­si did not attend the cer­e­mo­ny because he was sure he would not receive the award.

Lionel Mes­si became the best foot­baller of the year accord­ing to FIFA 2023 for the third time. He retained the title received in 2022, but was absolute­ly sure that vic­to­ry would not hap­pen to him. The con­fi­dence was so strong that the famous foot­ball play­er did not even come to the award cer­e­mo­ny. Co-host Thier­ry Hen­ry had to accept the award instead.

Mes­si did have some seri­ous com­pe­ti­tion this year, so his fears were jus­ti­fied. In the final he was up against Erling Haa­land from Man­ches­ter City and Kylian Mbappe from PSG. The play­ers scored 48 points, but the deci­sive fac­tor for Mes­si was the greater num­ber of first places that he received in the sur­vey of cap­tains of nation­al teams (677 ver­sus 557).

The world’s best foot­baller of 2023 has been named: it’s not Ronal­do or Mes­si

Dai­ly injec­tions for big mon­ey: how Lionel Mes­si strug­gled with his short stature

FIFA Pres­i­dent Gian­ni Infan­ti­no: “I look for­ward to Mes­si at three more World Cups”

The year of the Inter Mia­mi foot­ball play­er, despite numer­ous state­ments that he was not in the best shape (and in gen­er­al he plays for a team from the USA, where the com­pe­ti­tion is much low­er), turned out to be very favor­able. For exam­ple, in Octo­ber 2023, he already received one pres­ti­gious award from the world of foot­ball — the Gold­en Ball, which is award­ed to the best foot­ball play­er of the year.

For Mes­si, this stat­uette became the eighth in a row. Soon there will be no room left on the shelf for new awards. What is impor­tant: Mes­si is ahead of the rest in terms of the num­ber of Gold­en Balls. And this is not a fig­ure of speech. The Argen­tine foot­baller’s main com­peti­tor, Cris­tiano Ronal­do, has only five Bal­lon d’Or awards. This is also a decent fig­ure, but it is far from a com­peti­tor, and giv­en the age of the ath­lete from Por­tu­gal (Ronal­do is already 38 years old), it is far from a fact that he will be able to catch up with Mes­si. More­over, he moved to an Arab club, which may hint at the immi­nent decline of his career. In gen­er­al, there are not many chances.

Do any of the young high-lev­el play­ers have any prospects of over­tak­ing Mes­si or Ronal­do? For exam­ple, Mbappe? The French foot­baller may have achieved great suc­cess, but there have been no Gold­en Balls in his career yet. How­ev­er, many pro­fes­sion­al ath­letes are sure that this is tem­po­rary: after the retire­ment of Mes­si and Ronal­do, he will prob­a­bly receive sev­er­al awards, but hard­ly as many as Mes­si.

Mbappe has many high-lev­el com­peti­tors (Hol­land, Belling­ham, Vini­cius), and in recent years there has been increased com­pe­ti­tion among play­ers for per­son­al tro­phies, so the chances of break­ing the record are not that high, but they are there. Espe­cial­ly if, after a hypo­thet­i­cal depar­ture from PSG, he does not lose form, but con­tin­ues to play at a very high lev­el.