One of Celtic’s heroes from the 1997/98 season, Craig Burley, has weighed in on the Ballon D’Or debate. After winning the World Cup with Argentina, Lionel Messi has been tipped to win the coveted award whilst Erlang Haaland is another candidate given his scintillating first season in England.
Messi and Haaland are expected to be the two front runners for the prestigious award but Burley, who now works as a pundit for ESPN, believes it is the Man City striker that picks up the award.
“If Erling Haaland doesn’t win this, close the shop. Lionel Messi won the World Cup and it’s a great achievement, but it’s a four-week period. His general league form was not the best. PSG were terrible.”
“Erling Haaland? Over 50 goals, a Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the Champions League. Erling Haaland should win this award. I know that a lot of people out there can’t get off the Messi bandwagon but look at the bigger picture.
“There’s going to be a lot of muppet journos voting for Messi. The big picture here is that Erling Haaland achieved everything over a long period of time. This award, like a few awards, drives me nuts but he’s the one that deserves it but I think out there it will be full of sentimental claptrap – Messi won the World Cup, Messi’s this and Messi’s that, and they will just hand him another one.”
“And if I was Erling Haaland, I would never go back to another Ballon d’Or in my life, same as Robert Lewandowski.”
The two will go head to head on October 30th in Paris as the prestigious accolade is presented. At 23, Haaland’s numbers are exceptional and Celtic fans will be relieved that they didn’t draw Man City, who have been progressively incredible under Pep Guardiola.
Burley, meanwhile, can recognise top talents having played in an excellent Celtic team with Henrik Larsson and Paul Lambert two standouts. After a £2.5m move from Chelsea, Burley was a key figure under Wim Jansen as the Hoops stopped the ten.