Former Super Eagles captain and football pundit, Mikel Obi, recently shared his insights on why Lionel Messi deserved to clinch the 2023 FIFA’s Best Men’s Player of the Year, edging out strong contender Erling Haaland.
Messi, at 36, made history by becoming the first footballer to secure the prestigious award for the third time.
The announcement was made at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in London on Monday, January 15.
Messi emerged as the 2023 winner after receiving more votes than finalists Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
In a brief chat with Sky Sports, Mikel Obi expressed his opinion on Messi’s victory, stating, “I think he did. We’ve complained that he hasn’t won the World Cup with Argentina.
That was the only question. He hadn’t won it for Argentina. Then, he won the Copa America. The same year, he won the Copa America and the World Cup. Come on.”
Obi also touched upon Erling Haaland’s impressive performance, acknowledging his greatness but emphasizing that Messi’s accomplishments in the year warranted the recognition.
“I understand that Haaland is a great player. He plays for Manchester City, a team that creates chances and wins games. They’ve lost only one in nine or 10 games.
They create chances, score goals, and know how to win games without Haaland,” Obi said.
Messi’s triumph was attributed to his success with both Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Inter Miami, securing the Ligue 1 title and the Leagues Cup.
In contrast, Haaland, the favored candidate, showcased his prowess by winning the European Golden Boot with a record 36 Premier League goals and achieving the treble as the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup winner.
The 2023 FIFA’s Best Men’s Player of the Year decision sparked debates among football enthusiasts, with contrasting opinions on Messi’s triumph over Haaland.
Nevertheless, Messi’s exceptional year and contributions to his teams played a pivotal role in securing the prestigious award.