Lionel Messi and Aitana Bonmati favorites to win Ballon d'Or awards
Mon, Oct 30, 2023
Soccer News (AP)
PARIS, France (AP) - Lionel Messi is the favorite to win a record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday.
The Argentine great fulfilled his life's ambition by leading his country to the World Cup title in Qatar last year to win the one major trophy that had eluded him in his storied career.
Spain's Aitana Bonmati is the favorite for the women's award after leading her country to victory at the Women's World Cup in August.
Now with MLS team Inter Miami, Messi has already picked up his first silverware in the U.S. by inspiring the team to victory in the Leagues Cup.
Despite leaving top level European soccer behind when moving from Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, he is still tipped to beat Manchester City forward Erling Haaland to the sport's biggest individual prize.
Haaland led City to a treble of trophies last season - the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup titles - scoring 52 goals.
But it is Messi who is favored to lift the Ballon d'Or, which is awarded to the best player in the world that year.
Messi last won it in 2021. His first Ballon d'Or was in 2009.
The Ballon d'Or ceremony is scheduled to start at 19:30 GMT.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer"