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Mikel Obi Insists Messi Was Worthy FIFA Winner Over Haaland

Despite the surprise of Lionel Messi being crowned the 2023 FIFA Best Player of the Year, former Nigerian national team captain Mikel Obi believes the 36-year-old Argentine deserved the award over favourite Erling Haaland.

Daily Stand Nigeria recalls Messi claimed the trophy for a third time even though Manchester City phenom Haaland was expected to win after a standout debut Premier League season that saw him help lead the club to a domestic treble.

Within the assessment period from December 2022 to August 2023, Messi assisted Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title and Inter Miami to winning the Leagues Cup. Comparatively, the Norwegian striker propelled Manchester City to winning the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League in his first season.

Messi’s accomplishment has put him in esteemed company with Luka Modric, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo as only the fourth player to ever win the FIFA award three times.

While surprise persists over the decision, former Super Eagles captain Mikel Obi insisted to Sky Sports that “the 36-year-old Argentine forward deserves it.”

The former Chelsea midfielder said, “I think he did. We’ve complained that he hasn’t won the World Cup with Argentina. That was the only question. He hadn’t won it for Argentina. Then, he won the Copa America. The same year, he won the Copa America and the World Cup. Come on.”

Obi added: “I understand that Haaland is a great player. He plays for Manchester City, a team that creates chances and wins games. They’ve lost only one in nine or 10 games. They create chances, score goals, and know how to win games without Haaland.”

Idris Abdullahi

As a seasoned journalist with over 2 years of experience, Idris Abdullahi expertly crafts engaging and informative content, showcasing a deep passion for writing that captivates readers and brings stories to life.

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