Former Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel, has come to the defense of Lionel Messi, explaining why the Argentine deserved to be named the 2023 FIFA Best Men’s Player ahead of Erling Haaland.
Messi secured his eighth FIFA Best Award, beating out competition from Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
Mikel acknowledged Haaland’s remarkable achievements, including a treble with Manchester City and 30 goals across all competitions during the review period. However, he emphasized Messi’s broader impact.
While recognizing Haaland’s contributions, Mikel pointed out that Manchester City remains successful even without the Norwegian striker on the field, highlighting the team’s ability to create chances and win games.
“I understand that he [Haaland] plays for Manchester City. Manchester City is the team that creates chances. They win games.
“He (Haaland) has not played for nine games, ten games, but what are they doing? They lost one in nine or ten games.
“They create chances, score goals, and know how to win games without Haaland.”
Messi’s win marked a historic moment as the first Major League Soccer player to be honored with the prestigious FIFA Best Award.