WHAT THEY SAID: Martinez said: “We know who’s going to win the Ballon d’Or: my mate Messi. I’m just proud to be in there.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Some may argue that Messi has not matched Haaland’s feats at club level in the last calendar year, as the Norway international won the treble with City last season and was central to their success. However, Messi achieved his crowning glory by lifting the World Cup, and was again the star in Qatar, so it is little surprise his compatriot is insisting that he will sweep aside the competition.
WHAT NEXT? The Ballon d’Or awards are held on October 30, 2023.