Erling Haaland Lionel MessiGetty/GOAL

'Close the shop' - Erling Haaland told to 'never go back' to 'claptrap' Ballon d'Or awards if he loses to Lionel Messi

  • Haaland & Messi in the running to win Ballon d'Or
  • Burley insists Haaland should win it
  • Advised Haaland to never go back if Messi wins it

WHAT HAPPENED? France Football has already unveiled its 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or award. This year, notably, marks the absence of five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo from the shortlist, who had a lacklustre Qatar World Cup before moving to the Saudi Pro League in January.

In contrast, Messi, a seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, stands as a frontrunner for the coveted award. Despite transitioning to the MLS after a somewhat underwhelming two-year tenure at Paris Saint-Germain, the 36-year-old achieved glory by inspiring Argentina to a World Cup victory in December.

Meanwhile, Haaland had a remarkable season where he shattered Premier League scoring records and even went on to win the historic treble with City. His treble-winning exploits place him in contention for the prestigious accolade and appears to be Messi's most formidable competitor.

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WHAT THEY SAID: Former Chelsea and Scotland midfielder, Burley, believes that the Norwegian should win the award this year for his heroics with his club and even advised him to boycott the Ballon d’Or ceremony in the future should he be bested by Messi.

“If Erling Haaland doesn’t win this, close the shop,” Burley told ESPN, via SportBible. “Lionel Messi won the World Cup and it’s a great achievement, but it’s a four-week period. His general league form was not the best. PSG were terrible."

"Erling Haaland? Over 50 goals, a Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the Champions League. Erling Haaland should win this award. I know that a lot of people out there can’t get off the Messi bandwagon but look at the bigger picture.

“There’s going to be a lot of muppet journos voting for Messi. The big picture here is that Erling Haaland achieved everything over a long period of time. This award, like a few awards, drives me nuts but he’s the one that deserves it but I think out there it will be full of sentimental claptrap - Messi won the World Cup, Messi’s this and Messi’s that, and they will just hand him another one."

“And if I was Erling Haaland, I would never go back to another Ballon d’Or in my life, same as Robert Lewandowski," he further added.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Haaland's meteoric rise after joining City has put him on the same pedestal with other footballing greats. However, it remains to be seen if Messi will win his record eighth Ballon d'Or for firing Argentina to their third global crown after a dramatic finale that saw the Albiceleste overcome France on penalties.


Haaland Champions League 2022-23Getty Imagesmessi world cup(C)Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? The Ballon d'Or winners will be unveiled in a gala ceremony on October 30 at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.