'I'll give it to Messi': Man City teammate overlooks Erling Haaland for Ballon d'Or
Erling Haaland won't win the Ballon d'Or as things stand, Manchester City teammate Bernardo Silva believes.
City's number nine has enjoyed an outrageously prolific first season with the English champions, finding the net 51 times in all competitions and breaking the record for the most goals in a Premier League campaign.
It's been an undeniably outstanding season for Haaland – but Silva feels the Norwegian hitman needs to do more if he's to be officially honoured as the best player on the planet.
That's because, in the Portuguese playmaker's view, a certain World Cup-winning captain is leading the race...
"If Haaland wins [the] Premier League and Champions League, you can put him in the Ballon d'Or discussion," Silva told France Football (via GOAL), "and you can also talk about Vini [Vinicius] Jr if [Real] Madrid win the Champions League. In general, [the Ballon d'Or] is between Messi and the winner of the Champions League – and so far, I will give it to Messi."
Such is the power of narrative in football, Argentina's Messi-inspired World Cup triumph might already have sealed the Ballon d'Or for the seven-time previous winner regardless of what Haaland does between now and the end of the season.
If Haaland – who has just been voted Football Writers' Association (FWA) Footballer of the Year – can help fire City to an historic treble, though, that narrative is bound to be robustly challenged.
Pep Guardiola's side lead second-placed Arsenal by one point with four games of the Premier League campaign remaining and head into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tie against Real Madrid all square at 1-1. They also face Manchester United in the first ever Manchester derby FA Cup final.