The iconic German soccer legend, Lothar Mateus, has made a bold statement asserting that Erling Haaland should have been awarded the prestigious "Golden Ball" this year, ahead of Lionel Messi. This stunning declaration was reported by Sky Germany and has stirred quite a controversy in the soccer world.
In his impassioned remarks, Mateus boldly declared: "Haaland has outperformed Messi consistently throughout the year. This award, granted to Messi, feels unjust and emphasizes the undeniable importance of the World Cup. There's no denying that Haaland's performance has been unmatched in the past 12 months.
He clinched significant titles with Manchester City and set remarkable goalscoring records. As a dedicated Messi fan, I couldn't help but feel that last night's decision was nothing short of a farce." Mateus, who himself won the Ballon d'Or in 1990, certainly has a unique perspective on the matter.
Fans and experts sharing varied opinions on who truly deserved the Golden Ball this year
Lionel Messi's eighth Ballon d'Or win cements his status as one of the greatest soccer players in history, with an impressive collection of accolades spanning over more than a decade.
His previous victories in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021 underline his enduring dominance in the sport. The decision to award the second position to Erling Haaland, who has been a standout performer, reflects the growing influence of the young Norwegian sensation in the soccer world.
Kylian Mbappe's third-place finish acknowledges the exceptional skills and contributions of the PSG forward, who continues to be a driving force for both his club and the French national team. Messi's triumph was notably marked by his gold-medal win with the Argentine national team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, alongside his domestic success as he secured the championship with Paris Saint-Germain in the French Ligue 1.
In contrast, Haaland's season was highlighted by his remarkable achievements with Manchester City, where he clinched the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, and the English FA Cup. The debate rages on, with fans and experts sharing varied opinions on who truly deserved the Golden Ball this year.