Speaking on RMC Sport show Rothen s’enflamme, Jérôme Rothen claims that it was “shameful” to award Lionel Messi (36) the Ballon d’Or ahead of Manchester City’s Erling Haaland.
Messi secured his eighth Ballon d’Or during Monday night’s ceremony in Paris. It comes after a year in which he won the World Cup in Qatar, as well as the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentinian played a starring role in the World Cup final. However, Messi was outscored by Haaland, as well as PSG teammate Kylian Mbappé, who himself scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final, but ended up on the losing side. Messi scored 38 goals in the 2022/23 season, 16 fewer than Mbappé and 18 fewer than Haaland, the winner of the Gerd Müller award.
Messi “not even the best player at his club” – Rothen
Rothen was therefore highly critical of the decision to award Messi the prestigious trophy. “It’s shameful! Of course, it’s shameful! 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. If we speak about trophies, he is behind Haaland, even if he did win the World Cup. Haaland won everything with Manchester City and of course, you can’t compare based on the World Cup because Haaland is Norwegian,” said Rothen.
He added, “Haaland beat all of the records […] even at PSG, Messi wasn’t above the rest. He wasn’t even the best player at the club. It’s problematic that the guy who gets the Ballon d’Or, who is supposed to be the best player in the world, wasn’t even the best player at his club. For three or four years, Messi has not been the best player in the world. We need to stop this madness. And in these four years, he has won two Ballon d’Ors. So, for me, it’s shameful. I can’t believe my eyes.”
Messi now plays his club football for Inter Miami after leaving PSG in the summer. After receiving his eighth award, he said that he believes it will be his last Ballon d’Or.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle