After the results were “leaked”, Lionel Messi said his eighth Ballon d’Or victory would be a scandal.

Lionel Messi is expected to be crowned the Ballon d’Or winner instead over Erling Haaland despite the Manchester City ace scoring 52 goals last season

Michail Antonio has suggested it would be a “scandal” if Erling Haaland does not win the Ballon d’Or – after it was reported that Lionel Messi will claim the prize for the eighth time.

Messi captained Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last December, with the Barcelona legend winning the Golden Ball after scoring seven goals in the process.

The 36-year-old then joined David Beckham’s Inter Miami in July following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.

As for Haaland, he broke multiple records during his maiden season at Manchester City, including the most goals in a single Premier League season (36).

He added a further 16 in all competitions, with Haaland ending the campaign with the treble as City won the Champions League in June.

Jude Bellingham, Rodri and Kylian Mbappe are also among those in the running to win the Ballon d’Or, but Premier League duo Callum Wilson and Antonio think Haaland deserves to come out on top.

Speaking on the Footballers’ Footballer Podcast, Newcastle forward Wilson started : “What Haaland did last season can’t be overlooked.

“If you take away international football and compare statistically… Haaland should win the award. You can’t look past Messi winning his first World Cup as it’s a big contributing factor, but club football-wise he’s been playing in America which is very different to Haaland in the Premier League.”

West Ham’s Antonio continued: “I agree with Callum. I understand Messi winning the World Cup is massive, but you can’t look past a treble-winning team and what Haaland bought to that, breaking records. He deserves that Ballon d’Or. If he doesn’t get it then it’s a scandal.”

Who deserves to win the Ballon d’Or? Let us know in the comments below!

Erling Haaland scored 36 Premier League goals for Manchester City last season ( Image: Getty Images)

Meanwhile, City boss Pep Guardiola, who worked closely with Messi at Barcelona and is now managing Haaland, offered his verdict on the Ballon d’Or debate. “I always said that the Ballon d’Or had to be two sections: one for Messi and one for the others,” Guardiola joked ahead of his side’s game against Brighton.

“But of course, Messi, if you tell me the worst season of Messi it is the best for the rest of them. Both deserve it. Egotistically I would say I want Erling because he helped us to achieve what we achieved. I would love it but I won’t tell you it’s unfair if Leo wins. It’s nice that many players for Man City will be there for the first time in many years and challenging for these trophies. That makes us so proud for our organisation.”

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