Lionel Messi could become the second-oldest player to ever lift the Ballon D’or should he win the 2023 tournament as anticipated.
The Argentine has had a largely underwhelming club year, which saw him move to the MLS this summer after his contract with Paris Saint Germain expired and fans protested him staying.
However, on the international scene he led Argentina to their first World Cup win since 1986, drawing himself level with Diego Maradona in the eyes of his home country.
As a result of his 7 goals at the tournament, the Argentine maestro is widely expected to scoop his eighth Ballon D’or ahead of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (who spearheaded his club to a historic treble), a record in itself and well ahead of second-place Cristiano Ronaldo, who has managed five to date and was left out of the reckoning for this season’s accolade.
At 36-years-old, it is some achievement.
However, he will have to go some way to break the record of the oldest man to pick up the award. That record belongs to England winger Sir Stanley Mathews, who managed to lift the Ballon D’or at the ripe old age of 41 years old. Given that he played until 52 years old, it was still relatively early in his glittering career, but it is a record that has stood since 1956.
For reference, Messi would have to win the award in 2029 to move ahead of the former Stoke City winger.
Should he win, Messi will slot into second place though, above the current holder Karim Benzema, who won the 2022 version of the competition, and Messi again for his win in 2021.