Sunday, May 26, 2024

Saka and Odegaard make 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist

Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard have been included on the 30-man shortlist for the 2022/23 Ballon d’Or, presented by France Football magazine to the best player in the world.

The nominations come after a stellar 12 months that saw the duo spearhead Arsenal’s title challenge. Both players found the net 15 times last season with Saka making eight assists and Odegaard registering 11. Saka also impressed on the world stage, helping England to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.

Both players were nominated for a raft of other awards at the tail-end of the last campaign (Premier League Player of the Year, PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year) but repeatedly missed out to Manchester City’s Erling Haaland.

More recently, Saka tasted success at the PFA Player Awards when he was voted Young Player of the Season. Yesterday, on his 22nd birthday, he was also confirmed as England’s best player for the second year running. 

To determine the winner of the Ballon d’Or, a jury of 170 specialized journalists, one from each FIFA-affiliated country, will select five players with point values of six points, four points, three points, two points and one point. The winner will be revealed on Monday, October 30.

Realistically, our boys aren’t going to win, but we suspect they’ll be chuffed to get this far.

Earlier in the evening, it was confirmed that Aaron Ramsdale had been included on the 10-man shortlist for the Yashin Trophy awarded to the world’s best goalkeeper.

Arsenal Women are also represented on the Ballon d’Or Feminin shortlist thanks to the efforts of Katie McCabe and new signing Amanda Ilestedt.

30-man shortlist for 22/23 Ballon d’Or

Julian Alvarez (Man City)
Yassine Bounou (Sevilla and Al Hilal)
Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
Ilkay Gundogan (Man City and Barcelona)
Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)
Erling Haaland (Man City)
Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
Ruben Dias (Man City)
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (Napoli)
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt and PSG)
Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)
Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid and Al-Ittihad)
Andre Onana (Inter Milan and Man United)
Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig and Man City)
Kylian Mbappe (PSG)
Kim Min-Jae (Napoli and Bayern Munich)
Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich)
Lionel Messi (PSG and Inter Miami)
Rodri (Man City)
Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona)

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They’re the top 2 in our eyes 😍😍


Halaand all day long

Spanish Gooner

Between him and Messi. I’d like Messi to win one last one, personally.

Norwegian Wood

Me too. And he will. It’s a World Cup edition, and he’d practically dragged Argentina to that trophy, despite Lautaro’s valiant efforts to thwart that.


Haaland’s record scoring and winning the treble will be hard for a lot of those voters to resist though… I hope they keep in mind he was supported by a team assembled with the help of a billion pounds, rather than Messi’s “half of them don’t even play for a Champions League club” Argentina.


Yessir, will then have 8 to Ronaldo’s 5, which will surely make Ronaldo unhappy. And any time Ronaldo is unhappy, I’m happy.


Yessir, will then have 8 to Ronaldo’s 5, which will surely make Ronaldo unhappy. And any time Ronaldo is unhappy, I’m happy.

Teryima Adi

It’s Messi for me- just for winning the world cup, and to put to rest the debate between who is the greatest compared to Christiano Ronaldo.

Heavenly Chapecoense

We’ve seen a lot of goal scorers before (Romario, Nistelroy 44 goals in 2003, Huntelaar 48 in 48 games in 2012 etc). Even if you compare Haaland to Benzema, the Frenchman is a much better all around player.


I agree and I also don’t find him very compelling as a player. He could end up being the best pure finisher in history but I’d argue other pure scorers did it with more style. Maybe it’s just the City effect. Every player who goes there, no matter how good, end up feeling dispassionate and leaves me cold. The only one I don’t feel that way about is KDB. And Foden, what I’ve seen of him this season is insane, he is good enough that he rises above the City effect.

Dr. Gooner

You’re both totally entitled to not be enamored by Terminator. I’m in the same boat. I find his dominance and Man City’s dominance predictable and uninspiring. That said, to extend that to profiling Haaland as a lesser player than Benzema is just nuts. Haaland has Benzema’s finishing ability on a freight train of a physique and he’s only 23! You might say he could use polish with his link up, but what for? City have 8 #10s to do all that. They need a battering ram striker who will destroy sub-elite CBs in duels and score half chances, and that’s… Read more »


Why is Obana on the list ? He’s a goalkeeper, no ?

Dr. Gooner

He made a CL final with Inter


Why can’t goalkeepers win it? They are players too lol


My bad. I thought the Yashin comp was the GK equivalent.


The winner will be either Halaand or Messi. Also how the fuck is Julian Alvarez nominated?!

djourou's nutmeg

won the treble in his first season in europe and also the world cup


Won both world cup and the European treble and contributed a decent bit to both, not many players in history can say that


Emi Martinez, formerly of this parish, makes the list too. For being a twat during the WC I guess?

Dr. Gooner

LOL, Messi, de Bruyne, Saka, Haaland…. and Emi Martinez. Cue ugly duckling meme.

Arteta Tots

With everything that’s happening with mbappe, just don’t feel he is anywhere near the potential list of winners here. and contrast that to everything that is happening with haaland. quite a sad state of affairs to be honest

Merlin’s Panini

Mbappe is such a circus. Amazing player but has developed Neymar levels of arrogance that are so unbecoming. This is why I love Saka. He’s amazing yet he’s also humble and a team player.

Teryima Adi

Humility is a virtue.


Messi gonna win it with the World Cup trophy, everyone knows.


Can’t see any player on that list winning over Haaland. None of them have done anything amazing to deserve it over Haaland, throw in the treble and he is a shoe in

Norwegian Wood

You don’t think Messi dragging a team
with the likes of Montiel, Acuna, the Atleti lad, Otamendi, Romero, Enzo, an aged Di Maria, MacAlister, etc., to lwin the World Cup is amazing?

But you think a player who failed to score in the semis and final of the Champions League, failed to score in final of the FA Cup, failed to score in the Community Shield match-up, despite playing in a super team deserves to win it?

Isn’t that questionable?


How many years did Messi win it because he banged in goals for Barca for fun, but never won a major international trophy? But now he is on the other side and he deserves it? Argentina got to the final through pure luck, two penalty shootouts, I’d hardly call that carrying the team.

Haaland scored 53 from 52 starts this season, his debut season in the EPL scoring 36 which is an EPL record. Wins the treble.

But 6 games in a knockout tournament is somehow better? No.

A Different George

I think the point is that Argentina were a pretty mediocre team with some decent players (Macalister, Alvarez). some really crap players (Otamendi and Romero!) that won the World Cup and it’s really hard to explain that without saying Messi carried them. I’m not sure that would have been enough if Kante, Pogba, Benzema, Lucas Hernandez, and Kimpembe had not been injured and Varane had been fully fit. But, you know, that final doesn’t go down as a “draw” (though technically that’s what it was); it goes down as “Messi won the World Cup.”

Dr. Gooner

Argentina had really good players in most positions. MacAllister and Enzo are top drawer, so is Romero, so is Alvarez, so is Emi Martinez and Lautaro Martinez. Otamendi is not “crap” either. They also can casually call on guys like Papu Gomez, Paulo Dybala and Angel DiMaria. They had a few water carriers like Acuna and De Paul, but that is also necessary if your focal point is a mid 30s Messi. I’m not trying to take anything away from Messi. He was spectacular and I’m glad he won it, richly deserved. I hope he wins the Ballon d’Or. I… Read more »

A Different George

None of the players you name, except DiMaria and maybe Dybala (who hardly figured), have ever been “top-drawer,” at least yet. Alvarez could play for Arsenal right now, as could Enzo (though not as good as what we have). MacAllister, as I said, is a good player. I don’t think Arteta would ever let Romero and Otamendi on the pitch. That tells you something. Argentina were the weakest team to win the World Cup in my memory, and certainly in the last 30 years.

Dr. Gooner

We may rate them differently which is totally fine, but I think it’s very different to have Otamendi at club level playing for Arsenal and at international level playing for Argentia. He was very effective for their style and is a much higher level of player than 95% of international sides have at the position (England still plays Harry Maguire!). International sides by and large would get thrashed at club level because they just don’t play together often enough and the pool of available players often dictates awkward fits or lets in a few average players. That’s part of what… Read more »

A Different George

There’s no question international teams can’t play the pressing, intense style of top clubs. That doesn’t mean the players aren’t good enough. I think every player who started for France in 2018 (but not Croatia) was good enough to start for Arsenal. The same for Germany, Spain, Italy (probably), and Brazil, the last five winners before Argentina. Messi was far more responsible for the victory than any single player on these other teams.




Congratulations to our captain Martin and our starboy for making the elite list. Obviously it would be a long shot for them to win it but making the list itself is a confirmation of their quality and excellent personality.

Merlin’s Panini

Nice to see Odegaard on the list while there are only two Real Madrid players. Just goes to show the fuck up on their part in not playing him and letting him go. Great player and a top guy. Having Onana and Martinez on the list and no other keeper, then having a separate award for keepers, with 10 listed, is kind of weird because you know 8 of them aren’t going to win it. I would contest that neither of those two is the best keeper in the world though. Onana hasn’t looked too impressive at United (he wasn’t… Read more »

A Different George

I would prefer eitherof our keepers over both Onana and Martinez. If you offer me Ederson or Alison, that might be different.


It can only be De Bruyne. Halaand has plenty of time left to win one.

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