Messi versus Haaland in 2023 Ballon d’Or battle: what Pep Guardiola said in 2021

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Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland are set to battle it out for the 2023 Ballon d’Or after fantastic individual years and Pep Guardiola’s comment on the award in 2021 has resurfaced.

Messi is pushing to win his record-extending eighth award after captaining Argentina to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where he was also named the tournament’s best player.

In his first year in English football, Haaland helped Manchester City to a historic European treble, shattering goal-scoring records in the Premier League and picking up numerous awards.

The Argentine last won the award in 2021, while the Norwegian is yet to win the prize and is set to make the podium for the first time this year on his third time asking.

What Guardiola said about Messi in 2021?

According to Goal, the former Barcelona man is the favorite to pick up the coveted award after winning the only silverware that eluded him from his illustrious career, but fans believe the Premier League striker is more deserving.

When Messi won in 2021, there was an enormous outcry that former Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski was robbed after winning the sextuple in 2020.

The awards were cancelled after COVID-19 disrupted the football calendar.

Pep’s old comments have resurfaced with the former Paris Saint-Germain star a Favorite to win again, as quoted by the Independent.

“You can never say it is unfair Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d’Or,” Guardiola said.

The Spanish boss is a big fan of his former player, whom he managed for four years at Barcelona and won 14 trophies. If Haaland loses the award, he would have to take consolation in his current manager’s words.