Published: 30th November 2021
What The FAQ: Everything that you need to know about Ballon d’Or — from how much it weighs to how it was constituted
The very prestigious football honour Ballon d’Or was given to GOAT Messi in a ceremony held at around 1 am (IST) on Tuesday (Monday night), November 29
Lionel Messi has done it again. The Argentine footballer has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or for the seventh time, how big is that? “I don't know how many years I have left, but I hope many more. I'd like to thank all my (former) teammates at Barcelona and Argentina,” he said while accepting this award at the Theatre du Chatelet, in Paris on November 29.
While we all know a lot about this GOAT sportsman, how much do we know about Ballon d’Or (which literally translates to the Golden Ball in French) itself? Let's find out more...
When was the award instituted?
A French footballer and sports writer called Gabriel Hanot conceived the idea behind the award. With a 12-year playing career already under his belt, Hanot went on to become an editor of L'Equipe, a French daily devoted to sports, and felt the need to reward the biggest football stars. So he and his fellow football writers put their heads together and voted for the best male individual performer. The inaugural award was presented in the year 1956.
How did the scope of the award expand?
Also known as the European Player of the Year Award when it was conceived, it was in the year 1995 that any player of any nationality, albeit representing a European club, was considered for the award. It was only after the year 2007, any player from the world could win the award. Plus, coaches and captains of national teams were allowed to vote too.
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Was it awarded every year since it began?
A point to note is that from the years 2010 to 2015, Ballon d'Or merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the result was the FIFA Ballon d'Or. After 2015, it was back to being called Ballon d'Or. Also in the year 2020, the award was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. Apart from these two discrepancies, the award was given every year. The first Women's Ballon d'Or was awarded in 2018.
What does the award look like and how much does it weigh?
The award has a height of 28 cm, a diameter of 22 cm and weighs around 12 kg. It also has two brass plates embossed to render it in the shape of a ball. The sphere itself is filled with a wax-like material that is then chiseled carefully to make it look like a football. After it is coated in fine gold, the logo of France Football (the magazine under L'Equipe) and the winner of the name is engraved to boot. When it comes to the valuation itself, it is a little higher than 3,000 euros.
How does the voting process go?
To begin with, France Football creates a 30-player shortlist of award nominees. Then a jury comprising top journalists from the world choose their first, second, third, fourth and fifth contenders for the award based on individual and team performance, talent and fair play plus overall judgement on the career of the nominee itself. The top pick from each individual jury's selection receives six points, the second receives four and so on and so forth for their top five picks. After the top players of each jury are allotted, all the points are tallied and the player with the most number of points wins.
What does the 2021 top five table look like?
1) Lionel Messi - 613
2) Robert Lewandowski - 580
3) Jorginho - 460
4) Karim Benzema - 239
5) N'Golo Kante - 186
Who are the winners of this award from the last ten years?
Lionel Messi (2021, 2019); Luka Modric (2018); Cristiano Ronaldo (2017, 2016); Lionel Messi (2015); Cristiano Ronaldo (2014, 2013) and Lionel Messi (2012 to 2009).