The Golden Ball, the supreme individual trophy, is the symbol of all the lusts in the world of football. The long-awaited verdict of the 2021 edition will be delivered on November 29. But how exactly does it work? We will explain everything to you.
Who votes and until when?
Since the media France Football regained ownership of the Ballon d’Or in 2016, it is exclusively journalists who vote to elect the winner. Since its inception, the Ballon d’Or has always worked this way, with the exception of the 2010-2015 period when it was held by FIFA. During this period, the winner was then chosen by a jury made up of members of the FIFA Football Committee, as well as coaches and captains of FIFA member countries. This method of attribution was often the subject of much controversy since the players in football, the coaches, but above all the players, were absolutely not objective in their votes. They very often chose to favor their teammates, sometimes to the detriment of all logic, which could sometimes lead to votes that were at least “folkloristic”. For the 2021 edition, it is therefore a panel of 180 journalists who are in charge of the vote which will close on October 24.
What are the voting criteria?
In any “objective” vote there is obviously a part of subjectivity which depends on the sensibilities of each one. This helps to explain the differences of opinion that recur each year when the nominees are revealed. Some players should be on the list, others shouldn’t … In short, it’s an endless debate. There are, however, important criteria that voting journalists must absolutely respect to designate the Golden Ball. There are three main award criteria. The first is the individual sports performance (number of goals scored, assists made …) and collective (victories won, competitions contested …) of the player during the year. The second is the prize list (number of collective and individual trophies) obtained by the player during the year. And the last, which should not be neglected, is the public image that the player sends (talent, but also and above all behavior on and off the field, especially fair play).
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How are the players decided?
Depending on the selection criteria mentioned above, the journalists each establish a hierarchical list of five players in order to attribute a specific number of points to each player. Six points are awarded for the first, four points for the second, three points for the third, two points for the fourth and one point for the last. The player with the most points from the list of 30 nominated for the Ballon d’Or unveiled by France Football is declared the winner. In the event of a tie in the number of points, the players are then decided in a very particular way. It is the number of first, second and third places granted by the voters which then makes it possible to decide. In the event of an additional tie, a new vote is organized by the panel of journalists between the players concerned.
Who has won the most Ballon d’Or?
Paris Saint-Germain player Lionel Messi is currently the record holder for Ballons d’Or obtained with six trophies won (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019). His coronation in 2019 also makes him the last holder to date since the 2020 edition has been canceled due to the Covid-19 epidemic. He is ahead of the Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo and his five Golden Balls (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017). This year, the Argentine is once again one of the favorites, as is the Polish Robert Lewandowski, brilliant this season, or the Italian Jorginho who won the Euro and the Champions League. On the French side, Karim Benzema, recent winner of the League of Nations, has every chance. On the other hand, it should be more complicated for Kylian Mbappé and N’Golo Kanté, also present in the list.