From Goals to Glory: Here is Why Haaland Beat Messi and De Bruyne to 22/23 UEFA Player of the Year Award

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Norwegian and Manchester City football sensation Erling Haaland whose goalscoring prowess and astonishing statistics took the Pep Guardiola sides to the pinnacle of European glory, has been crowned the UEFA Player of the Year for the 2022/23 season.

In a closely watched vote that captivated the football world, Haaland emerged victorious, leaving behind a star-studded list of nominees. Lionel Messi, the Argentine legend, and Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian maestro, were among those vying for the prestigious title. However, it was Haaland’s stellar performances that ultimately earned him the coveted accolade.

Result of the vote:
1 Erling Haaland (Norway & Manchester City)

2 Lionel Messi (Argentina & Paris, now at Inter Miami)

3 Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium & Manchester City)

4 İlkay Gündoğan (Germany & Manchester City, now at Barcelona)

5 Rodri (Spain & Manchester City)

6 Kylian Mbappé (France & Paris)

7 Luka Modrić (Croatia & Real Madrid)

8 Marcelo Brozović (Croatia & Inter, now at Al Nassr)

9 Declan Rice (England & West Ham, now at Arsenal)

10 Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina & Brighton, now at Liverpool)

11 Jesús Navas (Spain & Sevilla)

Why did Haaland win the vote?
Haaland could not stop scoring in his first season at City, with an impressive 12 in the Champions League – four more than his nearest challenger, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah – and became only the third player to score five in a game. He added a record-breaking 36 in the Premier League, a tally that included four hat-tricks.

The Norwegian star also became the youngest and quickest player to make it to 35 Champions League goals in total, and picked up his – and his club’s – first winners’ medal in the competition to go with the ones he collected as City won the domestic double.

2022/23 in numbers

UEFA Champions winner, Premier League winner, FA Cup winner

UEFA Champions League

Appearances: 11

Goals: 12

Assists: 1

Player of the Match awards: 1

Erling Haaland: Every Champions League goal of 2022/23

Domestic League

Appearances: 37

Goals: 36

Assists: 8

Top three performances
Manchester City 7-0 Leipzig

Haaland ran riot in Man City’s round of 16 second leg, becoming only the third man to score five goals in a single Champions League match after Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano.

Man City 3-0 Bayern München

Man City blew Bayern away in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Haaland in inspired form. He set up a headed finish for Bernardo Silva with a delicious cross and then scored a cool close-range volley.

1st leg highlights: Man City 3-0 Bayern

Manchester City 6-3 Manchester United

Haaland’s first season in Manchester brought six hat-tricks, including one in his first local derby. The Norwegian became the first player to score three successive Premier League home trebles before setting up Phil Foden – who also scored three – for City’s sixth.

Who was last year’s winner?
Karim Benzema was the 2021/22 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year after winning the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and the UEFA Nations League with France. His final tally of 15 Champions League goals – including a joint-record ten in the knockout stages – earned him top spot in the competition scoring charts, with 27 in the Spanish Liga also a domestic best.

2022/23 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year nominees
Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium & Manchester City)

Erling Haaland (Norway & Manchester City)

Lionel Messi (Argentina & Paris, now at Inter Miami)

How was the shortlist selected?
The initial shortlist of players was selected by the UEFA technical study group based on their performance during the 2022/23 season at both club and national team level.

The top three nominees were then voted for by a jury composed of the coaches of the clubs which played in the group stages of the 2022/23 UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League, together with the coaches of the men’s national teams of UEFA’s member associations. A group of journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) were also part of the jury.

Coaches and journalists were asked to select their top three players from the shortlist by allocating them five points, three points and one point respectively. The final result was based on the total number of votes cast by the coaches and journalists. The coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.

The rest of the players who received votes
4 İlkay Gündoğan (Germany & Manchester City, now at Barcelona) – 129 points

5 Rodri (Spain & Manchester City) – 110 points

6 Kylian Mbappé (France & Paris) – 82 points

7 Luka Modrić (Croatia & Real Madrid) – 33 points

8 Marcelo Brozović (Croatia & Inter, now at Al Nassr) – 20 points

9 Declan Rice (England & West Ham, now at Arsenal) – 14 points

10 Alexis Mac Allister (Argentina & Brighton, now at Liverpool) – 12 points

11 Jesús Navas (Spain & Sevilla) – 6 points

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