The Ballon d'Or is an esteemed football accolade awarded annually by the French news magazine 'France Football'. Widely considered as the most prestigious individual honor in football, the recipient is selected through a combination of media representative, national team captain, and coach votes. Winning the Ballon d'Or is a notable accomplishment for any footballer, recognizing their exceptional individual performance and contributions to their team and the sport. Furthermore, it acknowledges their diligent efforts, unwavering commitment, and innate talent.
Vinicius Junior has been the target of an astounding amount of criticism from some unsavory corners of football fandom in recent months. However, instead of letting it get him down, the Brazilian has harnessed it as motivation, resulting in a series of dazzling performances.
After a brief period of adjustment following the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Vinicius returned to form during the FIFA Club World Cup, and then went on to deliver a game-changing display against Liverpool at Anfield. With two goals and an assist, he played a pivotal role in Real Madrid's 5-2 triumph on enemy soil.
Thus far this season, Vinicius has racked up 18 goals and nine assists across 37 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos.
Erling Haaland's debut in the Premier League was nothing short of spectacular, having already scored an impressive number of goals this season. However, the question of whether Haaland's addition has truly improved the Manchester City team remains up for debate. The verdict on his impact will ultimately be decided if his goals lead the team to win either the Premier League or the Champions League titles.
While he has achieved remarkable numbers, City appeared to be a formidable force during the 2021-22 season before Haaland joined. So far this term, Haaland has scored 33 goals and provided five assists in 34 appearances across all competitions for City. With his talent, he is considered a future Ballon d'Or winner and could potentially make the podium this year.
Marcus Rashford is currently enjoying a phenomenal run of form. His impressive scoring prowess has been instrumental in Manchester United's recent success in the Carabao Cup. Rashford's notable performance in the final against Newcastle United, where he found the back of the net, has become a familiar sight in recent games, often followed by his jubilant celebrations. It could be argued that Rashford is one of the most improved players under the guidance of Erik ten Hag and appears to be on the cusp of realizing his full potential.
This season, Rashford has netted 25 goals and provided nine assists in 39 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils. If he can continue his current form, Rashford will undoubtedly be a strong contender for the coveted 2023 Ballon d'Or.
Kylian Mbappe is widely regarded as a future recipient of several Ballon d'Or awards throughout his career, but the question remains - will he be able to claim the coveted prize this year? While the French striker has already achieved a lot this season, he may fall just short of winning his first Ballon d'Or.
Mbappe's impressive performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup final saw him score a hat-trick, but despite his individual efforts, France ultimately lost the game.
However, he was awarded the Golden Boot after scoring eight goals and providing two assists in seven appearances throughout the tournament.
With 30 goals and seven assists in 30 appearances across all competitions for PSG this season, Mbappe's numbers are certainly deserving of Ballon d'Or recognition. Unfortunately for him, his biggest competition for the award this year is his club teammate, the legendary Lionel Messi.
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