Ballon d'Or 2023 Power Rankings: Six Man City players in the top 20 as Lionel Messi continues to hold off Erling Haaland

Comments (0)
Ballon d'Or Power Rankings GFX
The race to win the Golden Ball is almost over as domestic trophies begin to be handed out and European final line ups are confirmed

The race for the 2023 Ballon d'Or race is coming to a close, with some of the world's best footballers vying to succeed 2022 winner Karim Benzema in lifting the Golden Ball in Paris later this year.

It promised to be a unique Ballon d'Or battle, with the World Cup taking place in the middle of the 2022-23 campaign, meaning it could be a distant memory by the time votes are cast in August. There is no doubt, however, that playing a starring role in Qatar has boosted some players' chances of competing for the Golden Ball, even with domestic titles now being decided and the Champions League final line up set.

Who, then, has put themselves in the frame for the biggest individual honour of them all, and who still has some catching up to do? Join GOAL as our 12-month Ballon d'Or Power Rankings journey continues...

(Previous update: May 8, 2022. Players removed: Nicolo Barella, Mike Maignan, Rafael Leao & Martin Odegaard.)

  1. Rodrygo (Real Madrid)

    #20 Rodrygo (Real Madrid)

    Last time: 11th

    In 2022-23: 16 goals, 12 assists. Won Copa del Rey, Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

    Madrid's Copa del Rey-final hero, Rodrygo was unable to repeat his heroics of 2022 in this season's Champions League semi-final against Manchester City as Los Blancos crashed out.

    That said, the Brazil forward has shown that he has the ability to step up and support Vinicius Jr. in leading this team forward in 2023-24.

  2. Jack Grealish (Manchester City)

    #19 Jack Grealish (Manchester City)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2022-23: Six goals, 11 assists. Won Premier League.

    His raw attacking statistics can still underwhelm given the price City paid for him, but there is no doubt that Grealish's performances in 2022-23 have show just why he cost £100 million to sign in the summer of 2022.

    His all-round game has improved immeasurably under Pep Guardiola, and he still has a key role to play as City chase the treble.

  3. Casemiro (Manchester United)

    #18 Casemiro (Manchester United)

    Last time: 17th

    In 2022-23: Eight goals, eight assists. Won Carabao Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

    Casemiro's goal at Bournemouth all-but confirmed United's return to the Champions League, and the club's fans will hope it also marks a return to form for the Brazil midfielder.

    They will certainly need Casemiro to be at his best for the FA Cup final, as United look to win a second trophy of the season, and stop Man City from claiming a treble in the process.

  4. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

    #17 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

    Last time: 13th

    In 2022-23: 18 goals, 14 assists.

    Much like Arsenal as a collective, Saka's form has dropped off at the exact wrong time for the Gunners as their title challenge evaporated in a matter of weeks.

    Despite that, expect the England winger, along with team-mate Martin Odegaard, to be on the 30-man shortlist for the 2023 Ballon d'Or when its announced later this year.

  5. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

    #16 Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

    Last time: 14th

    In 2022-23: 16 goals, 20 assists. Won Carabao Cup.

    Fernandes has been in outstanding form since the turn of the year for United, and has been the driving force behind their imminent return to the Champions League next season.

    He was also Portugal's standout player at the World Cup, and so a Ballon d'Or nomination is surely a certainty at this point.

  6. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

    #15 Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2022-23: 15 goals, nine assists.

    All of a sudden, Borussia Dortmund are one win away from ending Bayern Munich's decade-long dominance of the Bundesliga after a dramatic weekend of action in the German top-flight.

    If Dortmund can get over the line - and it's a big if with this club - then Bellingham is likely to be the face of their triumph ahead of his likely departure for massive money this summer.

  7. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

    #14 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

    Last time: 10th

    In 2022-23: 32 goals, 11 assists. Won Carabao Cup.

    Rashford will hope that his form between December and February was a foreshadowing of what is to come in his career rather than merely a hot streak, but his performances have certainly dipped considerably since.

    That is likely in part to some injury issues, and Erik ten Hag will be hoping the England striker can get himself fully fit for the FA Cup final on June 3.

  8. Lautaro Martinez (Inter)

    #13 Lautaro Martinez (Inter)

    Last time: 20th

    In 2022-23: 26 goals, 11 assists. Won World Cup & Supercoppa Italiana.

    The man who scored the goal that sealed Inter's place in the Champions League final, Martinez is now dreaming of a European Cup-World Cup double in the space of six months or so.

    Given his goalscoring record in Serie A this season, even if Inter come up short in Istanbul on June 10, he might have done enough to warrant a Ballon d'Or nomination regardless.

  9. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

    #12 Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2022-23: Nine goals, eight assists. Won Premier League.

    Bernardo is not a regular goalscorer, but he does score his fair share of big goals, and few have been bigger than the pair he scored to set City on their way to beating Real Madrid and securing their spot in the Champions League final.

    If this is to tbe Portugal playmaker's last season at the Etihad Stadium, he clearly wants to go out with a bang.

  10. Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

    #11 Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

    Last time: NEW ENTRY

    In 2022-23: 11 goals, seven assists. Won Premier League.

    Whoever Gundogan is playing for next season, that club is going to have an elite player on their hands, and one who has proven he can come up clutch when his team needs him the most.

    The midfielder's pair of braces against Leeds and Everton effectively sealed the Premier League title for City, meaning that's two seasons in a row that the Germany international has netted the goals to secure silverware for Pep Guardiola's side.

  11. Julian Alvarez (Manchester City)

    #10 Julian Alvarez (Manchester City)

    Last time: 12th

    In 2022-23: 23 goals, six assists. Won World Cup & Premier League.

    Only six Premier League players have scored more goals in all competitions this season than Alvarez, who continues to prove that he needs to be more than just a back-up for Man City going forward.

    The Argentine's quest to finish the 2022-23 season as the most-decorated footballer on the planet continues, and he could yet have a key role to play in City securing two more trophies in June.

  12. Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

    #9 Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

    Last time: 9th

    In 2022-23: 34 goals, nine assists. Won La Liga & Supercopa de Espana.

    Lewandowski's chances of ever getting his hands on the Ballon d'Or might now have gone, but he has at least kept up his superb record of winning league titles by firing Barca back to the top of Spanish football.

    That he managed it despite the odd lull in form is testament to his ability as he approaches his 35th birthday.

  13. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)

    #8 Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)

    Last time: 8th

    In 2022-23: 16 goals, 17 assists. Won Serie A.

    'Kvaradona's' form has not been the same in 2023 as it was before the turn of the year, but Napoli fans will not care given the role he has played in them winning their first Scudetto since 1990.

    The Georgian winger has been one of the signings of the season in European football, and remains one of the trickiest wingers to defend against anywhere on the continent.

  14. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

    #7 Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

    Last time: 5th

    In 2022-23: 29 goals, six assists. Won Copa del Rey, Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

    There will be no Ballon d'Or for Benzema this season as the reigning Golden Ball holder was powerless to help Real Madrid reach yet another Champions League final as they lost out to Man City.

    In truth, the striker's season has been pretty underwhelming, in part due to a series of fitness issues, but a top-10 finish in the Ballon d'Or standings should still be secure.

  15. Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

    #6 Victor Osimhen (Napoli)

    Last time: 6th

    In 2022-23: 28 goals, five assists. Won Serie A.

    Osimhen will forever be immortalised in Naples after his goal sealed the Partenopei's first Serie A title for 33 years, and it was only right after the season he's had that the Nigerian striker was the man to finish the job.

    Now attention turns to whether Napoli can keep hold of Europe's most-wanted forward this summer.

  16. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

    #5 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

    Last time: 7th

    In 2022-23: 10 goals, 30 assists. Won Premier League.

    Thirty assists! De Bruyne truly is the best playmaker of his generation, and the way he has rounded into form over the course of the season has been key to City hitting the heights they have over the past couple of months.

    Perhaps the best player of his age not to have a Champions League winners' medal to his name, the Belgium star will be doing all he can to change that against Inter.

  17. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

    #4 Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

    Last time: 4th

    In 2022-23: 24 goals, 25 assists. Won Copa del Rey, Club World Cup & UEFA Super Cup.

    Given everything that Vinicius has had to put up with from opposition fans in Spain this season, his form has been superb, with it now confirmed that he is among that small group that can be dubbed world-class.

    Falling short in the Champions League will likely mean he misses out on the Ballon d'Or podium this time around, but everything about the Brazilian profiles as a future winner of the award.

  18. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

    #3 Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

    Last time: 3rd

    In 2022-23: 52 goals, 13 assists.

    There are some that believe Vinicius deserves to finish ahead of Mbappe in the final Ballon d'Or rankings, so let's lay out while we still have him in third place...

    He has scored over 50 goals for club and country, is set to win yet another league title, and won the Golden Boot at the World Cup after SCORING A HAT-TRICK IN THE FINAL.

  19. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

    #2 Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

    Last time: 2nd

    In 2022-23: 53 goals, eight assists. Won Premier League.

    Winning the treble probably won't be enough for Haaland to win the Ballon d'Or - he's going to have to score the goals that get Manchester City over the line too.

    He's undoubtedly done that in the Premier League despite his recent dry-ish spell, but he will have to be the main man in the FA Cup and Champions League finals to leapfrog the current clubhouse leader...

  20. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)

    #1 Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain)

    Last time: 1st

    In 2022-23: 37 goals, 25 assists. Won World Cup & Trophee des Champions.

    Back on the pitch and chipping in with the odd assist after his recent suspension, Messi continues to set the pace in the Ballon d'Or race, despite others closing in behind him.

    Can he hold out down the final stretch? Only time will tell...