Many wondered about the nature of the Gerd Müller Award, which Erling Haaland won at the 2023 Ballon d'Or awards.
The Norwegian international was a favourite to win the Ballon d'Or, finishing second in the final standings behind Lionel Messi, who won the eighth ball of his legendary career.
The victory of the "flea" has sparked many criticisms, as there are many who believed that Haaland was the most deserving, and that what is happening is just a continuation of the series of Messi and Ronaldo winning the award in the last decade due to their overwhelming popularity.
But France Football may have compensated Haaland with the Gerd Müller Award, a recent rather than as outdated Ballon d'Or or even the Young Player and Best Goalkeeper awards.
So what's the story of the Gerd Müller Prize and how did it start?
The beginning. 2021
The award was initially named "World's Best Striker" and is reserved for No.9 players, or at the very least those with continuous scoring ability throughout the season.
The first time this award was presented in 2021, and it was in that edition awarded for everything the player has done throughout the whole year, and it was won by Robert Lewandowski.
The creation of the award was surprising to many, and some even went on to mock it as a gift of compensation to the victims of Lionel Messi.
With the advent of 2022, France Football decided to change the name of the award to become the Gerd Müller Award after the death of the German football legend and its most prominent historical goalscorer, and considering that the name of the Bayern Munich striker will be the best expression of the award's goal.
With the change in the name of the award, the mechanism for selecting the winner also changed, so instead of assessing the level of the attacking player over the course of the season, it was decided to rely on his numbers in the season ended and the number of goals he scored in the first place.
On this basis, it is easy to know before the start of the ceremony who will receive the award, depending on the numbers of strikers in the season.
Compensation for "Messi's victims
The world newspapers viewed the Gerd Müller Award as merely compensation for the victims of Lionel Messi in the most important award Ballon d'Or.
Perhaps this concept made a lot of sense in the appearance of the first award, when Robert Lewandowski won it even though he was the most deserving in the eyes of many to be crowned with the Ballon d'Or and not Lionel Messi, who also hinted at the Pole's eligibility for the award in 2020 (when it was canceled) and perhaps in 2021 as well.
The award was a compliment to Lewandowski is that the following year it was decided to change the mechanism for selecting its winner, as if its first edition was only aimed at not feeling let down by Messi's victory.
In 2022, the award went to Robert Lewandowski thanks to his numbers with Bayern Munich, and the Ballon d'Or went to Karim Benzema, and in this particular edition there was no talk or criticism of the award.
But in 2023 it returns again and the Gerd Muller Award stirs controversy, as many believe that it was only created in order to compensate those who Messi triumphs over, after Erling Haaland won it and then finished second in the Ballon d'Or standings.
Haaland scored 52 goals in all competitions last season, more than any other player around the world.
As for Messi, he only succeeded in leading Argentina to the World Cup, and at the club level he was satisfied with the French league title with Paris Saint-Germain.