The former Middlesbrough and Trabzonspor stat is convinced the Argentine hero is more deserving of his latest accolade
Former Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has presented several reasons why Lionel Messi deserved to be crowned the 2023 FIFA Best Men Player of the Year ahead of Norwegian striker Erling Haaland, Soccernet.ng reports
At the FIFA Best Men’s awards ceremony in London on Monday, Messi secured his eighth FIFA Best Award, overshadowing Manchester City’s Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe.
Despite Haaland’s remarkable achievements, completing a treble with Manchester City and scoring 30 goals across all competitions during the review period, Messi emerged victorious.
The Argentine’s win ignited a wave of reactions on social media, with many fans expressing the belief that Haaland should have clinched the coveted title instead.
However, former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, who experienced a World Cup final defeat to Messi in 2005, asserted Messi’s worthiness of the accolade.
Mikel pointed out that Messi’s achievements extend beyond individual accolades, emphasizing the significance of winning the Copa America in the same year he secured the award.
“I think he did (deserved the award more than Haaland),” Mikel said.
“We have complained and said, ‘But he has not won the World Cup’.
“That was the only question. He has not won the World Cup with Argentina. But then he won the Copa America the same year he won the World Cup. Com’on.”
"I think Messi did more than Haaland to win it"— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 16, 2024
Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel on Lionel Messi beating Erling Haaland to be named FIFA’s Best Men’s Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/EVj36s80VS
Addressing the argument in favour of Haaland, Mikel acknowledged the Norwegian’s impactful contributions.
Still, he highlighted Manchester City’s ability to create chances and win games even without Haaland’s presence on the field.
“I understand that. He plays for Manchester City. Manchester City is the team that creates chances. They win games.
“He (Haaland) has not played for nine games, ten games, but what are they doing? They lost one in nine or ten games.
“They create chances, score goals, and know how to win games without Haaland.”
Messi’s latest triumph not only solidifies his status as the player with the most FIFA Best Award wins but also marks a historic moment as the first Major League Soccer player to be crowned with this prestigious honour.