- Messi one of the favourites
- Up against Erling Haaland
- Martinez also nominated
WHAT HAPPENED? Martinez has been nominated for the Ballon d'Or after playing a key role in Argentina's World Cup triumph, but the Aston Villa stopper believes that Messi is almost certain to lift the award after captaining his side to glory in 2022. Erling Haaland is perhaps his only real rival, having scored 52 goals last season for Manchester City, but Martinez insists Messi will add a seventh Ballon d'Or to his unbelievable trophy cabinet.
WHAT THEY SAID: Martinez said: "We know who's going to win the Ballon d'Or: my mate Messi. I'm just proud to be in there."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Some may argue that Messi has not matched Haaland's feats at club level in the last calendar year, as the Norway international won the treble with City last season and was central to their success. However, Messi achieved his crowning glory by lifting the World Cup, and was again the star in Qatar, so it is little surprise his compatriot is insisting that he will sweep aside the competition.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? The Ballon d'Or awards are held on October 30, 2023.