Erling Haaland names best player of all time


Erling Haaland has weighed in on the greatest footballer of all time debate, hailing Lionel Messi as “the best that has ever played”.

Despite winning a famous treble with Manchester City during his maiden campaign at the club, scoring a quite ridiculous 52 goals in 53 games in all competitions, Haaland finished second in the 2023 Ballon d’Or and The Best FIFA Men’s Player awards voting.

Both awards were won by Lionel Messi, who had guided Argentina to World Cup glory at the end of 2022. The Ballon d’Or voting period included the tournament in Qatar, although those casting ballots for the FIFA prize were asked to consider a time period starting the day after the final. Messi’s reputation held weight and he still collected the latter award anyway, effectively winning it two years in a row for a single achievement thanks to the slightly confusing calendar.

The Ballon d’Or triumph was Messi’s record-extending eighth, and to many, firmly cemented the Argentine’s legacy as the greatest footballer of all time.

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The best ever / Thaddaeus McAdams/GettyImages

Speaking ahead of City’s Champions League win over Copenhagen, Haaland was asked if he was disappointed at missing out on the Ballon d’Or to Messi and if he feels he has to wait until the Argentine superstar to retire before getting his hands on football’s top individual prizes.

“I don’t know, good question,” said Haaland. “Yeah, it’s true he won it and he won the World Cup so I don’t know what to say. He is the best that has ever played, I think, so yeah, I don’t know.”

Alongside Jude Bellingham and Kylian Mbappe, Haaland is one of the early favourites to win the 2024 Ballon d’Or. Despite enduring a spell on the sidelines with an injury, the striker has already bagged 29 goals in 32 games so far this season. His tally since joining City in 2022 is now 81 in 85.

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