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Which is The Biggest Award in Football?

The most prestigious and valuable FIFA Ballon d’or award is the highest level in football. FIFA Ballon d’or is an association football award given to the best men’s player in the world each year. You should know that initially Ballon d’or and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards were individual honors with Ballon d’or being originally awarded by France Football and the other by FIFA. Later, they merged and the award was jointly awarded to the World best player in the name of FIFA Ballon d’or. 

You would be impressed to know that unlike Ballon d’or presented by France Football, FIFA Ballon d’or was not awarded on the basis of votes from international journalists or professionals but votes from actual Football participants including national coaches and captains. Then, they would select the player they believed to be the best performer in the previous Football calendar year. 

Commonly known as Golden Ball, the FIFA Ballon d’or was jointly introduced in 2010 and lasted till 2015 provided the six editions of the award. Not to surprise, six editions of this award were conquered by Lionel Messi as well as Cristiano Ronaldo. It also became a stage to take their Rivalry to the next level. 

The widely known Greatest Footballer of all time, Lionel Messi became the first player to receive the inaugural Ballon d’or in 2010 and went on to win three in a row. The Barcelona legendary goal scorer was followed by the Real Madrid shining star Cristiano Ronaldo as he won the award in 2013 and 2014. Again Messi became the player to receive the last FIFA Ballon d’or in 2015 ending the series of D’or. 

Remember, the joint FIFA Ballon d’or award ended as a result of termination of their awarding bodies’ partnership but the original Ballon d’or presented by France Football was reintroduced and FIFA also came back with their previous format of The Best FIFA Men’s Player award. 

History of FIFA Ballon d’or

Considered as the most prestigious award in football, FIFA Ballon d’or award was a jointly presented award introduced in 2010. Originally, two individual awards existed including Ballon d’or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Award. Ballon d’or was also known as the European Football of the year award presented by France Football. It has been presented since 1956 while the FIFA World Player of the Year Award came into existence only in 1991. Since then, it has been awarded by the largest International Football governing body FIFA. 

From 2005, the individual winners of both the awards were recognisable each year. The proposal for a new format of a global Ballon d’or award was introduced in 2007 following which France Football and FIFA became eager to merge both the awards. Three years later, in 2010 the creation of a new joint award FIFA Ballon d’or was announced during the 2010 world cup in South Africa. FIFA President Sepp Blatter was the position holder at the time of it while Lionel Messi became the first player to receive this global level award. 

The FIFA Ballon d’or award only lasted for six years and all the six editions were dominated by the two major rivals, Argentine Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. After the 2015 award was given to Lionel Messi, the partnership between France Football and FIFA came to an end and the previous format of individual Ballon d’or and FIFA World Player of the year continued with the same enthusiasm. 

Voting system

As we already mentioned above, the method of voting for the FIFA Ballon d’or award was different from the previous Ballon d’or award. The winner for  original Ballon d’or award was selected on the basis of votes from International journalists while the new FIFA Ballon d’or award winner was determined on the basis of votes by National coaches and captains Under FIFA’s jurisdiction. 

In a system of positional voting, each voter was allotted three votes, worth one point, three points and five points. The three finalists will be determined on the basis of the total number of points they get. Voters were given a list of 23 best players out of which they could select any three best players they believed to be the best performer in the previous year’s calendar. In the end whoever had the most points won the game. 

biggest awardWinners of FIFA Ballon d’or award

We are listing all the three top ranked players who were nominated as the finalists in each year. Also, you will find that the Barcelona players dominated this award over the course of six years. 

YearRankWinner/finalistsTeamVotes %
20101Lionel MessiBarcelona22.65
2Andres IniestaBarcelona17.36
20111Lionel MessiBarcelona47.88
2Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid21.60
20121Lionel MessiBarcelona41.60
2Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid23.68
3Andres IniestaBarcelona10.91
20131Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid27.99
2Lionel MessiBarcelona24.72
3Franck RiberyBayern Munich23.36
20141Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid37.66
2Lionel MessiBarcelona15.76
3Manuel NeuerBayern Munich15.72
20151Lionel MessiBarcelona41.33
2Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid27.76

Who won most FIFA Ballon d’or

S.N.PlayerWinner (1st)Second rankThird Rank
1Lionel Messi2010, 2011, 2012, 20152013, 2014
2Cristiano Ronaldo2013, 20142011, 2012, 2015
3Andres Iniesta20102012
4Xavi2010, 2011
5Franck Ribery, Manuel Neuer, Neymar2013, 2014, 2015 respectively


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