Lionel Messi, the Inter Miami CF star, has won his eighth Ballon d’Or, beating Manchester City’s Erling Haaland. This historic victory came after Messi’s vital contribution to Argentina’s World Cup victory last year.

Messi’s victory is notable since it is the first time a Major League Soccer (MLS) player has received this prestigious accolade, owing primarily to his outstanding efforts with the national team in Qatar. David Beckham, a former Manchester United player and co-owner of Inter Miami, presented Messi with the trophy during an event in Paris.

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Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals for City the previous season, won the Gerd Muller Trophy as the best striker of the year and ended second in the Ballon d’Or voting.

Lionel Messi had already established himself as the record-holder before the 2023 ceremony in Paris, having won the Ballon d’Or seven times in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021. Cristiano Ronaldo has five wins, while Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff, and Marco van Basten each have three.

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While breaking Lionel Messi’s astounding record of eight Ballon d’Or victories is within sight for some of the world’s most talented players, it remains a daunting assignment. The following players have shown tremendous promise, but replicating or surpassing Messi’s accomplishments would necessitate an incredible level of skill and consistency:

  • Erling Haaland
  • Kylian Mbappe
  • Jude Bellingham
  • Jamal Musiala
  • Vinicius Junior
  • Pedri
  • Gavi
  • Bukayo Saka

These young players have already made big gains in their careers, playing for some of Europe’s finest clubs, and have the potential to do so even more. To match or exceed Messi’s unparalleled achievements, however, an exceptional player will be required.

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While it seems unlikely that anyone will break Messi’s record in the near future, if any of the players mentioned can sustain their development and top-level performance over several years, they may have a chance to challenge Messi’s record in the future.