The highly anticipated Best FIFA Football Awards for 2023 saw Lionel Messi controversially pick up the ultimate accolade of the night.
Despite the World Cup not being part of the time period considered for ranking the players, Messi still managed to emerge victorious. He thus continued his reign as the best player in the world, showing that his significance can still be felt even though he’s playing in the MLS.
Erling Haaland, following his remarkable season with Manchester City, had to settle for second. His extraordinary performance in the previous term saw him shatter records and establish himself as an enigmatic force in the Premier League. Not only that, but the youngster helped his side win the treble to boot.
But if Haaland thinks he is the natural successor to Messi, he can think again.
Having already secured last year’s 2023 Golden Boy award, establishing himself as Europe’s best player under the age of 21, Jude Bellingham appears destined for a future laden with numerous trophies.
As England gears up for the upcoming Euros tournament in the summer, the narrative surrounding Bellingham’s potential ascent to becoming a Ballon d’Or and Fifa ‘Best’ recipient feels like an inevitable conclusion already.
By contrast, Haaland remains a bit of a singular entity, showcasing an exceptional goal-scoring prowess throughout the past campaign. His return of 52 goals in 53 games was outrageous. But there is the case that Haaland is a one-track-minded player who plainly executes his role – netting goals – brilliantly.
But Bellingham emerges as a better-rounded, more complete and versatile force in football.
Back in Germany, he was proficient in a double pivot for Borussia Dortmund, being their star player as they came within inches of a Bundesliga title. Indeed, he refuses to be confined to a single role. His deep-lying playmaker skills seamlessly transition into a formidable force when positioned as a No.10 by Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti.
What sets Bellingham apart is his notable lack of weaknesses: he excels in dribbling, ball carrying, shooting, passing, tackling, and even aerial duels – a complete package with all attributes turned up to 10. Furthermore, his great maturity speaks loudly of captain potential both at club and international level.
Why Jude Bellingham is better than Erling Haaland
In the current season for Real Madrid, Bellingham has showcased his prowess with 17 goals and five assists in 22 matches, averaging a goal contribution in every game. He stands as the shining light for Real Madrid, a pivotal force propelling them in their title challenge.
Critically, the same cannot be said for Haaland. While Man City may appear weaker without him leading their attack, it is evident that he is not as indispensable to the team. Furthermore, Haaland is four years older than Bellingham. The England international won’t reach 20 years old for over six months yet, and it will be another year until he is legally able to buy alcohol in America.
It’s a scary thought to think: what we have right now from Bellingham could evolve into something even better.