German football legend Lothar Matthäus has rejected the idea of Lionel Messi being eligible to win the 2023 Ballon d'Or, calling it a "farce".
The Argentina international received the award for the best on Monday evening in the French capital, Paris, bringing him to the eighth Ballon d'Or in his career.
Achieving the 2022 World Cup with Argentina was the decisive factor as Messi beat the nearest pursuers Erling Haaland as well as third-placed Kylian Mbappe.
Matthäus, in turn, believes that Haaland deserves the award, and in statements to Sky Sports said, "Haaland's performance last season was better than Messi, Messi's coronation with the Golden Ball is not deserved."
"For me Haaland is the best player of the last year, but what happened says that the impact of the World Cup is stronger than everything."
"I love Messi and I encourage him, but for me choosing him and not Haaland is a farce."
It is noteworthy that Haaland won the Gerd Muller Award for the best scorer, and in the past months he won the award for the best player in Europe after leading Manchester City to achieve the historic treble last season.