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The Ballon d’Or is one of the oldest awards in football and is generally regarded as the most prestigious individual award for football players.
But what are its origins? Can any player win the Ballon d’Or? Who decides the winners?
Written by Jon Mackenzie, illustrated by Henry Cooke.
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Foreign The Ballon d'Or is an annual football Award presented by French news magazine France football It's one of the oldest Awards in Football and is generally regarded as The most prestigious individual award For football players But despite the fact that the Ballon D'Or has become a staple part of many Football fans experience within the Modern game less is known about the Award itself how it came into existence And how it's bestowed in fact if you dig Beneath the surface a little bit you'll Soon find that the Balon door isn't Quite what people think it is Born in France at the tail end of the 19th century Gabriel ano played football For clubs in both France and Germany Eventually picking up 12 caps for the French national team in the early Decades of the 1900s But after being involved in an aviation Accident Anno hung up his boots and Decided to make a name for himself in The World of Sports journalism Working his way up through the industry He ended up working at two of the most Established Sports outlets in France Lekip and France football Anna was a visionary At the beginning of the 1930s he helped Professionalize football in France
Setting up a league that would Eventually become Liga In 1948 having heard about the highly Successful South American championship Of Champions tournament from some of his Reporters Anno then editor of lekip Began proposing the creation of a Continent-wide knockout tournament This proposed tournament would Eventually become the European Cup a Competition that we now know as the Champions league but Anna was not Finished In 1956 along with a group of Journalists at France football he helped Set up the Ballon d'Or an annual award To celebrate the best football player in Europe The first iteration of the award Stanley Matthews then of Blackpool Rovers Narrowly beat off competition from two Real Madrid players Alfredo DiStefano And Raymond copper to win Both DiStefano and Coppa would go on to Win the award in subsequent years and Since then the Ballon d'Or has been won By an incredible cast of luminaries from Leviation and Johan Cruyff to Franz Beckham Bauer and Michelle batini And there are some notable outliers on The list leviation Remains the only Goalkeeper to ever win the award and Fabio canavero is the last Defender to Win back in 2006.
If you're looking for an English winner You have to go back to 2001 and Michael Owen While Scotland was last represented by a Winger in 1964 with Dennis Law Northern Ireland have George best to Post about who won the award in 68. but Wales and the Republic of Ireland have No winners to their name One individual stands out in the list of Winners George weyer who won the award In 1995. Where was the first non-european to win The Ballon d'Or initially the award had Been restricted to European players but In 1995 eligibility was expanded to Include all players from any origin that Had been active at European clubs Allowing away at the possibility of Being considered he remains the only African winner Ronaldo became the first South American Winner in 1997. And the Ballon d'Or did become a global Prize in 2007 but winners have only ever Been playing in European football at the Time of their win there have also been Different mechanisms of candidate Nomination and voting over the years The general format has stayed the same The award is bestowed as the result of a Vote by Algeria football journalists Accredited to the National Football Federations within UEFA
For example Henry Winter is the English Representative in the current setup However after 2007 the pool of eligible Voters was expanded to include a jury of Specialist journalists as well as the Coaches and captains of national teams From each of the National Football Associations around the world In its present guys France football Continued to act as the nomination board For the final list of candidates A list which typically includes around 30 options Initially voters were asked to cast Ballots for five of the candidates on The list indicating their preference in The form of a ranking by allocating Five Points to their first ranked candidate Four for the second and so on The candidate with the most points was Elected the winner Since 2010 though electors have been Able to cast only three ballots ranking Their top three candidates who in turn Received five three and one votes Respectively Now Beyond these format changes the Competition also went through something Of an upheaval in the 2000s In the Years between 2010 and 2015 the Ballon d'Or was merged with another Reward the FIFA World Player of the Year Award to create the FIFA Ballon d'Or a Prize which was awarded to the world's
Best male player However after the 2015 iteration FIFA And France football decided not to Continue the merging agreement Perhaps the most important development In the competition's history was the Expansion of the award into the women's Game In 2018 Arda hederberg won the inaugural Edition of the Ballon d'Or feminine A competition which is run in Conjunction with the Ballon d'Or That same year the Copa award was Introduced to recognize the best Performing player under 21 years of age And the following year the Yashin award Was brought in to celebrate goalkeepers So in the 65 years that have elapsed Since Gabrielle and the journalists of France football decided to Institute an Individual football award the Ballon D'Or has gone through a number of tweaks And changes and in that time the scope Of what is deemed worthy of celebrating Has changed drastically and largely for The better In addition to which its gravitas has Only grown with the Ballon d'Or becoming To some a Transcendent award Beyond The Game's team trophies If you like this video please consider Subscribing to the channel The athletic is home to some of the World's best sports journalists
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