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The 2023 Cyler d’Or Countdown: The best players in the world, the podium

The only award ceremony in football that truly matters.

FC Bayern München v Paris Saint-Germain: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

The Ballon d’Or has as of late shifted to a (much more suitable) format, now reviewing a season rather than a calendar year, and the Cyler d’Or, in parodic fashion, shall follow suit.

This week we put a full stop on this season’s awards with a final ceremony with a countdown starting from thirty. We have seen the top five leagues individually, but we have not seen them together. It’s time to award the 2023 Cyler d’Or. Not any regional variant, this is not just for Ligue 1, or Serie A, or any other league. Worldwide.

Of the thirty man shortlist, twenty-five will be the twenty-five players who received honours during the course of the 2023 Season Awards, giving us a clean split of five players from each of Europe’s top leagues. The remaining five will be handpicked from the players who missed out on the awards.

Let’s see how they stack up.

Previously: 30-21, 20-11, 10-6

5. Victor Osimhen

SSC Napoli v UC Sampdoria - Serie A Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Nigerian phenomenon, the best African player, the best player in Italy. 31 goals and 5 assists in 39 games.

Victor f@#!ing Osimhen. What a player. I really do wish Bayern Munich signed him, but I’ll ‘settle’ for Harry Kane. Osimhen’s relentless pressing was the primary reason for Napoli’s rush to the top of Italy, as he would win the ball back in seemingly impossible situations and latch onto long balls out of nowhere to get goals for Napoli on the break. His ability to hold-up the ball and link-up play with his wingers and midfielders was excellent too. The complete package, and still young, turning 25 in December.

Mark my words: He is Erling Haaland levels of freak. Just a little late of a bloom compared to the Norwegian.

4. Joshua Kimmich

1.FC Koeln v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Mika Volkmann/Getty Images

The 28-year-old is entering his prime as the best player in Germany and the most important player for both club and country, with every club in the world ready to fall on their knees to sign him if the opportunity were to arise (which, let’s be real here, hasn’t happened even if Barcelona’s fanbase believe it did).

Kimmich is the best midfielder in the world and indisputably the most complete player in world football. He can tackle, he can intercept, he can recycle possession, he can screen, he can create chances from deep, he can take long shots, and he can finish from close in if the opportunity arises. He truly can do it all. He’s ready to explode with a Ballon d’Or season if he gets a proper defensive midfielder alongside him to unlock him.

3. Kylian Mbappé

RC Strasbourg v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images

The only player in the top five to not be a regional Best Player award winner, Kylian Mbappé simply has to make it regardless as he was almost uncontrollable at times.

41 goals and 10 assists in 43 appearances this season is an inhuman record, even if it is a little tainted by the nature and quality of football in Ligue 1. Mbappé’s presence up top simply changed the way Paris Saint-Germain played, shown most vividly in their Champions League knockout clash against Bayern Munich where PSG looked completely toothless without him then immediately got the ball in the net twice in quick succession — although it was ruled out for offside both times. Mbappé had an excellent World Cup too, including the first hat-trick in a World Cup final since 1966, although in Mbappé’s case it was in a losing cause as France eventually caved to Argentina on penalties.

2. Lionel Messi

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The greatest player of our generation had yet another groundbreaking season, finally winning the one trophy that has eluded him since the very beginning of his career: the World Cup. Lionel Messi finally won the big one.

Messi didn’t put on the best campaign individually in the World Cup but he was still instrumental in Argentina’s run to victory, and Messi was just as instrumental in PSG’s run to winning Ligue 1. However I cannot Messi at number one as he failed to show up for PSG in the Champions League and was often a bit limp even in the league, with PSG only just about winning the league and failing to win the cup.

1. Erling Haaland


Obviously. The best and most important player in a treble-winning team. Obviously it had to be him. Football is not fair with Erling Haaland in this Manchester City team. 52 goals and 9 assists in 53 appearances. That is unfair.

The best hold-up play in the game. Flanked by the best Manchester City team we have seen in a while and Pep Guardiola’s latest tactical innovations, Haaland produced a machine-like season at the top of the formation. Pressing? Got it. Finishing? Better than everyone. Link-up? He’s a Pep striker. Haaland walked over the Premier League goal record like it was nothing and produced a hall of fame campaign in the Champions League campaign too.

No man more deserving.

What do you think of my picks? Is there any order you would’ve changed? Let us know in the discussion below.

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