Marco Arjona | SBN DigitalReading: 5 minutes.
With Messi winning his eighth – and perhaps last – Ballon d’Or, and with Cristiano out of contention for this trophy, the race is open for other players to become the best player in the world. One of them is Mbappe, but does he need Real Madrid to achieve this?
The 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony culminated in the presentation of the eighth ball to… Lionel Messi makes him the first winner of this individual distinction, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo, with five awards.
During the ceremony there were many young faces who seem to have a very promising future and could even compete for the award: Vinicius, Bellingham, Haaland… Mbappe. Of the above, the latter is the one who looks like one of the future candidates… but something is missing.
Beyond what Kylian Mbappé presented on an individual level, which led him to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or award six times, one of which was the youngest player in history (2017), who succeeded with Paris Saint-Germain (not qualifying for the Champions League) and led his French team to be world champions in 2018. There is little that Kylian could lack to be crowned ‘Player of the Year’ and supported by the trophy.
So what does Mbappe need to get the Ballon d’Or?
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The easier option is to say that the 24-year-old did not win the Ballon d’Or because of his current club, Paris Saint-Germain. The team that, after its acquisition by Qatar, was able to gradually enter the orbit of relevant and important teams in Europe.
Not to mention, they are still a long way from the media heft enjoyed by other football giants such as Liverpool, Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid. These are the clubs that put their name in football history.
However, there is a series of data that allows us to know which team might favor Mbappé in his quest for the award.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich are the teams that have “earned” the most Ballon d’Or or that have won the most players from their club with this title.
The Bavarian team has five players: Gerd Müller (1970), Franz Beckenbauer (1972, 1976), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1980, 1981). This means that the last time a Bayern Munich player won the aforementioned title was 42 years ago.
Juventus and Milan have eight each. Among its ranks are some of the best players in history, such as Michel Platini (1983/84/85), Zinedine Zidane (1998), Marco van Basten (1988/89/92) or Kaka (2007). Two teams that undoubtedly form part of the elite of world football.
Although Milan’s last Ballon d’Or was 16 years ago and Juventus’s was 20 years old, the matter seems complicated by the current economic and footballing situation of both teams.
Barcelona and Real Madrid have 12 Ballon d’Or titles, are the two teams with the most players on the list of winners, and have dominated the award this century.
This means that in 23 years, in 17 years, players from Spanish teams have been crowned. The trend is more than clear. FCB Barcelona and Real Madrid are currently the best bidders to win the Ballon d’Or.
Now between these two options, Barcelona is almost automatically excluded due to the financial problem that has brought the Catalan team into the restructuring plan.
Mbappé’s personality, no matter how seductive, cannot suit a club seeking to get rid of such high-profile contracts or chips.
Real Madrid, with whom he has already been linked, ends up being the best (if not the only) option, as if it were written in a movie script. The arrival of a player with the potential to be the best in the world and one of the best in history in the team that has won the most important club tournament.
Kylian, 24, is at a crucial age to make a decision about his immediate and long-term future. Arriving at Real Madrid as the ‘New Galactico’ could be the key to winning the Ballon d’Or.
With the spotlight he already has for his quality and image as well as the one that could await him in the White House, this will ensure Kylian takes home the official title of Player of the Year. But now he is the one who will have to approach Real Madrid.
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