The competition to be crowned the world's top footballer the next year has already started.

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As soon as one Ballon d'Or battle isn't won (congrats, Karim Benzema! ), another one begins to heat up.

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The top players are already declaring early victories for the election in the next year.

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Given that the World Cup will be held in the middle of the 2022–23 campaign, and that the election will be held in less than a year,

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A player's chances of competing for the Golden Ball will undoubtedly enhance if they play a prominent role in Qatar.

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In order to re-track the race, GOAL has created our Ballon d'Or power rankings.

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1.Lionel Messi Given the history of a seven-time winner of the trophy, Messi was surprised when he was not included as one of the 30 nominees for the 2022 Ballon d'Or.

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2.Neymar Many people would have believed that Neymar's difficult Ballon d'Or days were over because he wasn't shortlisted for the 2022 prize and was now 30 years old.

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3.Kian Mbappe The question mark that hangs over Mbappe right now—caught in a soap opera of his own making—is likely to dominate discussion of him throughout the season.

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4.Erling Haaland Haaland will prevail if the 2023 Ballon d'Or is awarded tomorrow. Since joining Citi, he has been performing at an unsettling level.

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5.Robert Lewandowski Lewandowski most definitely didn't abandon his shooting skills in Munich, as Barcelona's Marquee Summer had already committed to scoring more than one goal per game for Blagrana.

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