Lionel Messi, the former Paris Saint-Germain star, added another Ballon d’Or to his collection on Monday, marking his eighth win. Behind Messi in the rankings were Erling Haaland of Manchester City and his former PSG teammate, Kylian Mbappé.
In a show of sportsmanship, Mbappé publicly congratulated Messi on Instagram, acknowledging his deserved victory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
However, behind closed doors, it appears Mbappé had a different reaction to the award.
According to Le Parisien journalist Benjamin Quarez, when the Ballon d’Or was awarded to Messi, Mbappé expressed his disappointment. This reaction is understandable, especially considering his impressive performance, including a hat-trick in the World Cup final.
As we look ahead to the 2023-24 season, Mbappé seems poised to use this disappointment as motivation. He is determined to secure the Ballon d’Or in 2024, and there are various opportunities for him to strengthen his candidacy.
One potential path to the award lies in his international performance. If Mbappé can lead the French national team to victory in the UEFA Euro 2024 and perhaps even secure a gold medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics, in addition to his contributions at the club level, he would have a compelling case for the Ballon d’Or.
On the other hand, Erling Haaland’s prospects at the Euros are uncertain, as Norway must now aim to secure one of the three available playoff spots after failing to qualify through the group stage. Therefore, if Mbappé and PSG have a successful run in the UEFA Champions League and achieve significant international success next summer, he could very well position himself as the favorite for the 2024 Ballon d’Or.