Every year, all eyes are on the Ballon d’Or ceremony, which crowns the world’s greatest men’s and women’s players.
Since 1956, some of football’s greatest personalities have been honoured with the “Golden Ball,” an iconic trophy that has become synonymous with the game’s greatest players. The decade marked by the back-and-forth battle for the trophy between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has only served to increase the event’s recognition and attention, and it has since grown to become a flashy award show viewed throughout the world. The criticism has also resulted in changes to the award’s structure and voting process.
The Ballon d’Or awards night now includes honours for the greatest club, best goal scorer, and acts of solidarity in addition to the two awards. Here’s everything you need to know about the world’s most famous football award, the “Golden Ball.”
What is Ballon d’Or?
The Ballon d’Or, or “Golden Ball” in French, is the most prestigious individual award in world football, recognising the world’s finest male and female players. The Golden Ball has been awarded to some of the game’s best players, including Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, and many others.
The Ballon d’Or was first awarded in 1956 by French journal France Football and has been given out every year since, with the exception of the 2020 season, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ballon d’Or, also known as the “Golden Ball” in French, stands as the highest honor in international soccer, acknowledging the top male and female players on a global scale.
When is the Ballon d’Or awarded?
The Ballon d’Or is awarded every year. In 2022, they changed things up a bit. Instead of looking at the best player for the whole calendar year, they now focus on the best player from the European club season, which runs from August to July. The award ceremony for this new format takes place in mid-October.
For a long time, the Ballon d’Or event used to happen in late November or December, and it recognized the best player for the entire year. They made this change in 2022, and one reason might be that the FIFA World Cup was starting in November that year.
The first winner of the Ballon d’Or was Stanley Matthews from Blackpool in 1956. He just beat out the next two winners, Alfredo Di Stefano (1957, 1959) and Raymond Kopa (1958).
Who Selects The Winners?
The Ballon d’Or winner is chosen by a panel of international journalists, sportswriters, and experts in the field of football. They cast their votes to determine the recipient of the award based on their assessment of the players’ performances during the relevant time period.
Who has won the most Ballon d’Or Awards?
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the highest tier of world football from 2008 to 2021, collecting every Ballon d’Or award except one, which Luka Modric won in 2018.
In football history, no one had ever maintained the top spot for such an extended period. However, there have been exceptions, and as a result, these two players have secured the most Ballon d’Or awards in history. Lionel Messi has won a total of seven Ballon d’Or awards, while Cristiano Ronaldo has won five.
Nobody in history had ever won more than three. Michel Platini, Marco van Basten and, Johan Cruyff, each received three Ballon d’Or honours, while Ronaldo ‘O Fenomeno’, Alfredo Di Stefano, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and Kevin Keegan each received two.