Lionel Messi will set unique record if he wins Ballon d'Or thanks to Inter Miami
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Lionel Messi will set a unique record if he wins the Ballon d'Or for the eighth time.
The nominees for the 2023 France Football award are being revealed on Wednesday, with Messi the favourite to win the gong once again.
Karim Benzema picked up the prize for 2022 after a stunning year for Real Madrid and Messi wasn't even in the final 30 after a difficult start to life at Paris Saint-Germain.
But the period for the 2023 Ballon d'Or is between August 1 2022 and July 31, which looks set to work brilliantly in Messi's favour.
The Barcelona legend finished 2022 by finally guiding Argentina to a first World Cup since 1986, winning the Golden Ball after scoring seven goals, including a brace in the thrilling final against France.
He truly completed football and has since been running the show across the pond with Inter Miami, scoring 11 goals in as many games and firing them to the Leagues Cup.
Messi is the frontrunner for the prize but faces strong competition from Erling Haaland, who smashed in 52 goals in his debut, treble-winning season at Manchester City.
46 different stars have been crowned the best player in the world, but if Messi does come out on top in the voting, he will become the first outside of Europe to win the Ballon d'Or.
He is still eligible because he was a Paris Saint-Germain player during the necessary period.
Initially the award was only handed out to European players but in 1995 the rule was changed to include any players active in Europe.
Greats like Pele and Diego Maradona, who spent a good chunk of their careers in South America, never won the Ballon d'Or but the latter did receive a honorary 'Golden' one 28 years ago.
The Ballon d'Or ceremony, hosted by Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, will take place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30.
"I have said it many times, the Ballon d'Or is very important due to the recognition at an individual level, but I never gave it importance," Messi said on this year's award.
"The most important thing for me was always the awards at the group level.
"I was lucky to have achieved everything in my career and after the World Cup, I'm thinking about that award much less, my biggest award was that and I'm disguising my moment.
“If it arrives, good, and if not, nothing happens. I was lucky to achieve all my goals in my career and now I have new goals with this club."