By Victor Kanayo
World Football governing body, FIFA, Monday night crowned Argentina captain Lionel Messi the best footballer of the year for the third time in his career.
In emerging victorious again, Messi beat off contention from Manchester City goal poacher Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.
Both Haaland and Mbappe were placed second and third respectively.
As captured by ESPN, Messi won the award mostly for his work at PSG and Inter Miami, having helped the French giants to another Ligue 1 title before moving to MLS in July and inspiring Miami to their first-ever trophy, the Leagues Cup.
At international level, Messi helped Argentina to top CONMEBOL’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification table after six games. He was not in attendance in London to collect the award.
Haaland’s Exploits, Yet…
Haaland joined City from Borussia Dortmund in June 2022 and helped the club to a historic treble in his debut season, during which he scored an incredible 52 goals in 53 matches in all competitions, including 36 goals in the Premier League — a single-season record.
The Norway international has enjoyed a similarly prolific spell this season, with 19 goals in 22 games in all competitions.
Mbappe Slips Again
Mbappé played with Messi at PSG at the end of last season, and the France international chose to stay at the club, where he continues to lead Ligue 1’s goalscoring charts, although he could leave at the end of the season.
The timeline for the award was between Dec. 19, 2022 — the day after Messi led Argentina to win the World Cup in Qatar — and Aug. 20, 2023.