Kylian Mbappé (24) has said that he believes that Lionel Messi (36) “deserved” to win the Ballon d’Or. The Inter Miami forward beat Erling Haaland (2nd) and Mbappé (3rd) to the prestigious prize.
Messi’s year was notably marked by the World Cup win in December. It was the only trophy missing from his cabinet. He also won the Ligue 1 title, alongside Mbappé, in his final season at Paris Saint-Germain.
Jérôme Rothen describes the decision to award Messi Ballon d’Or as ‘shameful’
Both Haaland and Mbappé scored more goals than Messi last season, whilst the former also won the treble with Manchester City. As stipulated by the organisers of the award, France Football, collective achievements are factored in when deciding the winner of the award, however, individual achievements are the primary criterion.
However, the decision to award Messi the Ballon d’Or was met with criticism from elements of the French media. Jérôme Rothen, speaking on RMC Sport, described the decision to award Messi the Ballon d’Or as “shameful”.
‘When you win the World Cup, that makes the difference’ – Mbappé
“For me, Haaland should have won it. Between August 2022 and June 2023, what criteria lead us to believe that Messi is better than the rest? There is basically no criterion where he is the number one,” said Rothen on his show Rothen s’enflamme.
However, speaking ahead of France’s match against Gibraltar, Mbappé said that Messi deserved the prize, adding that he knew that the Ballon d’Or would escape him once again after Les Bleus lost that enthralling World Cup final in Qatar last December.
“I am not scared that it has escaped me. Messi deserves it. In the evening of the 18th (December), I knew he’d won the World Cup and the Ballon d’Or. I had a great season, like Haaland, but when you win the World Cup, that makes the difference,” said Mbappé.