Ian Wright has criticised the criteria used to give Lionel Messi the 2023 FIFA The Best Award over Erling Haaland despite the impressive campaign the Norwegian had with Manchester City.
Haaland won the treble with Manchester City and ended the year with Super Cup and the Club World Cup trophies, however, all these were not enough for him to win the FIFA The Best Award.
The decision to vote for the Argentine who joined Inter Miami towards the end of his glorious career surprised Wright and many football pundits.
Speaking on The Overlap’s Stick, Arsenal legend said Haaland should have firmly won the prize. He said, “I think Erling Haaland deserves something for what he’s done.”
Listen, [Lionel] Messi and the joy he brings…it’s like when there’s a Goal of The Season, a Goal of The Week, if it’s Arsenal fans or Liverpool players in there, they’re going to vote for him because they love him. People love him! If you really looked in at what Erling Haaland’s done, he easily should’ve won that.”
Messi was tied on 48 points with Norway’s striker, but the tie-breaker criteria, which prioritizes the votes of the captains of the world teams, gave the Argentine the victory.
Also, Legendary Lothar Matthaus disagrees with the decision. He argued that Messi was not worthy of FIFA The Best award as, according to him, he ‘did nothing’ at his clubs during the period marked, both at PSG and Inter Miami.
Matthaus was one of the best players during his playing days. The legendary footballer won the Ballon d’Or in 1990 after captaining Germany to the World Cup title at Italia 90. He also emerged as the winner of FIFA World Player of the Year’ in 1991.