Lionel Messi reportedly wins Eighth Ballon d’Or – Here’s where we think Osimhen could finish

Lionel Messi reportedly wins Eighth Ballon d’Or – Here’s where we think Osimhen could finish
Credit: Icon Sport

Lionel Messi has been chosen as the 2023 Ballon d’Or winner, beating Victor Osimhen and others to the award according to several trusted sources. The seven-time winner of the most prestigious individual prize in football is set to be presented with his eighth award in his storied, trophy-laden career.

This comes after he led Argentina to their third-ever FIFA World Cup title at the 2022 edition of the global showpiece in Qatar last December. Super Eagles and Napoli talisman Victor Osimhen is now set to watch the 36-year-old Inter Miami forward claim a well-deserved prize come Monday 30 October 2023.

How Osimhen made it to the Ballon d’Or podium

The story has been told a thousand times since 4 May 2023 when Victor Osimhen scored a second-half equaliser against Udinese to help Napoli win their first Italian Serie A title since the 1989/90 season.

The former LOSC Lille man was in his third official season with the club after signing from the French side for what was the most expensive fee paid for an African player at the time.

His first two seasons were riddled with injuries that made him miss some games. However, he managed to get double figures in goals in both years, even finishing as their top goalscorer in the 2021/22 season with 14 in the Serie A and 18 in all competitions. That was a sign of things to come as the 24-year-old striker hit the ground running in the 2022/23 season.

By January 2023, he was the undisputed leader of the pack in the league and was only behind Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland in the race for the European Golden Shoe. Those goals translated to actual results on the leaderboard for Napoli as they grabbed the top spot in the Serie A and ran away with it.

The best part of this achievement was that he achieved it even though he spent 50 days on the sidelines due to two separate injuries, missing six Serie A games and 10 total games in all competitions. It was a story of grit and determination which inspired a lot of Nigerian forwards to take the world by storm, leading to the deep pool of attacking talent in the Nigeria national football team.

Osimhen, Haaland, Messi: 2023 Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist

France Football, the organisers of the Ballon d’Or award, could not ignore Victor Osimhen’s achievements with Napoli in the past year. They rewarded him with a place in the nominees' list, making him the first Nigerian since Nwankwo Kanu in the late 1990s to make the shortlist.

The full list of nominees is below:

Josko Gvardiol (Manchester City), André Onana (Manchester United), Karim Benzema (Al Ittihad), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Randal Kolo Muani (Paris Saint Germain), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli), Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa), Rúben Dias (Manchester City), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Erling Haaland (Manchester City), Yassine Bounou (Al Hilal), Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal), Julián Álvarez (Manchester City), Ilkay Gündogan (Barcelona), Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan), Lionel Messi (Inter Miami), Rodri (Manchester City), Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain), Kim Min-Jae (Bayern Munich), Victor Osimhen (Napoli), Luka Modric (Real Madrid) and Harry Kane (Bayern Munich).

Where will Osimhen end up?

Victor Osimhen is a strong contender for the award which has not been won by an African since George Weah in 1995. However, Napoli’s only victory in the 2022/23 season was their Scudetto win.

This has greatly scuppered his chances of upsetting the balance of football by becoming the second African to win it. We predict, however, that the AFCON qualifiers 2023 top scorer will finish in the top 10 come 30 October 2023.

Here is Goalball Live’s top ten final Ballon d’Or winners list with Lionel Messi as the winner and Osimhen’s final position.

  1. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) – Winner
  2. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
  3. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
  4. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
  5. Rodri (Manchester City)
  6. Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
  7. Harry Kane (Bayern Munich)
  8. Julián Álvarez (Manchester City)
  9. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
  10. Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal)

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

All-round lover of the beautiful game. Massive football fan, supported Arsenal for decades for reasons that are unexplainable. One day we will win the Champions League!