Pep Guardiola disagrees with the Golden Ball verdict after Lionel Messi’s “8th victory”.

Argentinian World Cup winner Lionel Messi is the overwhelming favourite to claim an eighth Ballon d’Or when the winner is announced at a ceremony in Paris on October 30

Lionel Messi seems certain to bag Ballon d’Or No.8 this month – even if former boss Pep Guardiola doesn’t think he deserves it.

Despite being 36, the Argentinian icon has enjoyed a fairytale 12 months, captaining his country to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

And while his time at PSG ended someone unspectacularly, the forward has taken the MLS by storm since his subsequent move to join David Beckham at Inter Miami.

Indeed, according to reports in Spain, it has already been leaked that the ex- Barcelona star will be crowned the world’s best player for the eighth time in Paris on October 30.

The closest to his current haul is Cristiano Ronaldo, who won his fifth, and as it stands last, Ballon d’Or back in 2017.

Erling Haaland seemingly leads the chasing pack behind the mercurial Messi, having scored 52 goals in his maiden season for Manchester City.

He also helped the club land a unique Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League treble.

And in his press conference ahead of a home game with Brighton this Saturday, Guardiola argued his star striker deserved the honour over his former protege: “Haaland should win – yes,” he said., before offering a humorous exaggeration.

“We won the treble and he scored 50 million goals. Egotistically I would say I want Erling because he helped us to achieve what we achieved.”

The Puma home shirt features the traditional sky blue colour but has slightly darker blue detailed stripes across the front which take inspiration from the Etihad Stadium’s walkways. City moved to their new home from Maine Road in 2003 and the shirt honours that anniversary.

“The Ballon d’Or has to be two sections. One for Messi, and after look for the others,” added Guardiola. “The worst season of Messi is the best for the rest.”

Of more immediate concern to the 52-year-old will be Haaland rediscovering his scoring form in sky blue. The Norwegian has 12 club goals in all competitions this season, but none have come in his last three games.

And he’s not the only City player named on the Ballon d’Or shortlist. Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Julian Alvarez and the now departed lkay Gundogan have all been named on the 30-strong list.

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