Lionel Messi believes Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe will be the Ballon d’Or’s new battle for the next generation.
However, it is impossible to discount the fact that Jude Bellingham could be rubbing shoulders with them very soon.
Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo won every Ballon d’Or from 2008 to 2021, except 2018, but with Messi now in America and Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, many believe that Haaland and Mbappe will now step up and battle for the top individual prize.
And that includes the Argentina icon, who paid homage to the talented duo in his acceptance speech.
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He said: “Haaland and Mbappe will win the Ballon d’Or one day.
“Erling deserved it very much too, he has won Premier League, Champions League while being the top scorer of everything. This award could have been yours today too.
“I’m sure in the next years you will win it.”
However, one name that has not been mentioned is England’s Bellingham, who is quickly becoming a superstar at Real Madrid.
His electric start to life at the Bernabeu has seen him score 13 times in 13 games, including three in the Champions League.
The 20-year-old lifted the Kopa Trophy at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, awarded to the best player under the age of 21, and there can be no disputes.
Many have even gone as far as to say he is currently the best player in the world, especially after his incredible display in El Clasico at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Haaland’s incredible 52 goals in all competitions led Manchester City to win the treble, lifting the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.
Mbappe was no slouch either, winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup with eight goals, including a hat-trick in the final.
His 42 goals in all competitions last season also saw Paris Saint-Germain win Ligue 1.
However, Messi pipped both of them to win his eighth Ballon d’Or, largely down to his efforts in winning the World Cup in Qatar.
The 36-year-old netted six times for Argentina on their way to victory, including two in the final against Mbappe’s France.
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