“2023 Ballon d’Or: Who Will Dare to Dethrone Messi from His Eighth Crown?”

Lionel Messi, a seven-time Ballon d’Or champion, faces a formidable challenge from former Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, who currently holds the coveted Golden Ball. As the football world eagerly anticipates the upcoming ceremony on October 30th at Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet, the question looms large: can Messi recapture his glory, or will a Manchester City treble winner create an upset? On the other hand, England’s rising star, Jude Bellingham, is vying to etch his name in history.

Messi’s stratospheric rise, leading Argentina to World Cup glory for the first time since 1986, has made him the overwhelming favorite for the Ballon d’Or. However, with 30 players on the shortlist, there might just be a surprise in store.

Here, we take a closer look at five players who could steal the limelight:

  1. Erling Haaland: Messi’s closest rival, Haaland, stands as a serious contender, with bookies tipping him as the second-favorite. His incredible 2022/23 season saw him score 52 goals in 53 games, helping Manchester City secure Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup trophies.
  2. Kevin De Bruyne: The standout from Manchester City’s Treble-winning squad, De Bruyne is a top contender for the Ballon d’Or. After a third-place finish in 2022, he’s ready to make another run with his 41 goal involvements in 49 appearances last season.
  3. Jude Bellingham: The young prodigy’s meteoric rise continues, impressing since his move to Real Madrid. Bellingham might not be the main prize, but he’s nominated for the Kopa Trophy, aiming to become the first Englishman to claim the title.
  4. Kylian Mbappe: With 54 goals in 56 matches last season, Mbappe is a serious contender, despite the ongoing speculation about his future at Paris Saint-Germain. His Golden Boot win in the World Cup’s final may tip the scales in his favor.
  5. Karim Benzema: Last year’s winner deserves a mention, having broken the Messi-Ronaldo domination. Now, with a move to Al-Ittihad, can he make history once more?

The competition is fierce, and the contenders are ready to challenge Messi’s dominance. Who will emerge as the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner? The stage is set for an electrifying showdown.”

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