Commercial content, 18+ , T&C Apply

Ballon d'Or Betting | FIFA World Player of the Year

Ballon d'Or & FIFA World Player - © FIFA

Every year one player gets the honour of being crowned the greatest player on the planet. That’s no small feat and the top two world awards have always been the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year. These two awards were briefly merged for six years to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or from 2010 through to 2015. But then the partnership ended and now the Ballon d’Or is back fully to its origins of being presented by the famous magazine France Football.

FIFA went and rebranded their own award to The Best FIFA Men’s Player, but it always the name of the Ballon d’Or which captures the greatest imagination. It is handed over to the player who gets the most votes for being the best performer over the calendar year. All players from all over the world are now eligible for this after a change made in 2007 from just being available to all players at European clubs. That had developed itself from the original format of just European players being in contention for the award. The votes for the Ballon d’Or are made by football journalists.

The Shortlist

Before the final awards are announced there is a 30 man shortlist that is released. This really is just a very wide snapshot of most of what could be called the elite players in the world. But of those top players, there are a few players who are head and shoulders above them all and who are ever likely to win it. That has been proven in the modern editions of the Ballon d’Or with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo having so many awards between them. The shortlist is just a pat on the back really for some of the top players around the world who are not going to get close to winning the actual prize.

History Of Winners

If you are talking about handing over the award for the best player in the world then you are naturally going to look back through the history of the honour and see a glittering array of the world’s greatest football names. The first edition of the Ballon d’Or was handed over in 1956 and it went to Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews. The greats are all there, Gerd Muller, Zinedine Zidane, Ruud Gullit, Lothar Matthaus, Roberto Baggio, George Best, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Franz Beckenbauer, Marco van Basten, Johan Cruyff as former winners, and the list goes on.

The only Englishman to have ever won the award twice is Kevin Keegan who won it in back to back years in 1978 and 1979. Legends Michel Platini, a Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten each won the award three times during their glittering careers. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only two players to have gone beyond that by winning the individual award more than three times.

In the years 2010-2015 when the award was the FIFA Ballon d’Or it was Messi who was fully on top there, winning four of the editions, with Ronaldo claiming the other two. The only time in that spell of awards that Ronaldo didn’t get into the top three was in the 2010 award season when it was a Barcelona hattrick of Messi winning, Andres Iniesta in second and Xavi in third.

2016 Edition

It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s day in the 2016 edition of the Ballon d’Or. He beat out his rival Lionel Messi to claim what was his fourth personal award to put him within just one more of matching Messi’s tally of five. Throughout the year he had led Portugal to the European championships title and Real Madrid to the Champions League title as well. It was the ninth time that Ronaldo had finished in the top two of the Ballon d’Or, with the five near misses all coming because of Lionel Messi. Ronaldo more than doubled the number of voting points that Messi picked up last year. Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann came home a distant third.

2017 Preview

The 2017 award is expected to be all about Cristiano Ronaldo again. After winning the Champions League for the second season running with Real Madrid, he also helped the Spanish giants get the better of rivals Barcelona to win the Spanish league title earlier in the year. While the second half of the year probably hasn’t quite been one of his best and has in many ways has been surpassed by Lionel Messi, simply because of the awards that Ronaldo has claimed in 2017, he is likely to win his fifth Ballon d’Or to pull level with Messi.

The only thing that would upset that is if the voters look solely at the most recent half of the year and not what happened before. If current-bias comes in then Messi tops it hands down, but the Ballon d’Or while an individual award is about a bit more than that, it is about titles and accolades won and that is why Messi will probably end up second again just because of his brilliant self. Ronaldo and Messi have been in the top two in each of the last six editions of the award.

But the brilliance of Neymar is getting ever closer to breaking the dominance that the two have. As soon as the titles start rolling in with PSG, expect him to come good, even as potentially as soon as next year. Expect him to muscle his way into the top three though in 2017.