Lionel Messi clear favourite to win Balon d'Or TONIGHT with Erling Haaland only challenger | The Sun

LIONEL MESSI is expected to clinch this year's Ballon d'Or award in Paris tonight.

Bookmakers Paddy Power had the Argentina superstar as low as 1/14 when the nominations wee announced and have since SUSPENDED betting on him winning.

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Messi is on course to wrap up a record eighth Ballon d'Or, reclaiming it from last year's victor Karim Benzema.

It'd be Messi's third win in the past four runnings of the prestigious title, with no winner called in 2020 due to the pandemic.

It follows the Argentina skipper's efforts in helping his nation win last year's World Cup in Qatar, which capped off a stellar career.

He subsequently left PSG for America and his Inter Miami career started just as you'd expect it to.

He recorded ten goals in his first seven games in the country to set a marker down to the rest of the MLS that he wasn't there on a retirement jolly.

This past 12 months has meant he'll add to his record haul of this award, adding to wins from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021.

Chasing him down though is Erling Haaland, who recently scooped the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award.

Ballon d’Or winner odds

From Paddy Power

  • Betting suspended on Balon d'Or winner with Lionel Messi the overwhelming favourite

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Haaland hit a quite astonishing 52 goals in all competitions last season, helping Manchester City to a remarkable treble.

He was top marksman in the Champions League with 12 goals, tying Andy Cole's record for the most scored for an English side in a season in that competition.

Despite all this – and beating Cole and Alan Shearer's longstanding Premier League scoring record for a single season – he's unfortunately looking like playing second fiddle to Messi.

Haaland was second favourite but still a price of around 14/1 to win the award – before it rose to an incredible 80/1 to find the next contender.

Included around those odds were City trio Bernardo Silva, Rodri and Kevin de Bruyne, and Real Madrid duo Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham – the shortest priced Englishman on the list and surely a future winner of the award.

For now, Bellingham has his eyes on the Kopa Trophy, as he features on the 10-player shortlist for the best young player award,.

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