Don’t call it the Ballon d’Or! Who will win FIFA’s annual accolade at the award ceremony on Monday, January 9?
FIFA’s newly-renovated World Player of the Year will be handed out on Monday, January 9 at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2016.
But who will win, what trophies will be given out and why is it not called the Ballon d’Or any more? Goal explains all…
WHY IS NOT CALLED THE BALLON D’OR?
France Football ran the Ballon d’Or from 1956 until 2009 before merging with FIFA’s World Player of the Year for the 2010 edition. For the next six years the prestigious trophy was given as part of an increasingly popular event.
But Gianni Infantino’s new FIFA presidential regime – ushered in after Sepp Blatter’s undignified exit among relentless corruption allegations – opted to sever ties with the Ballon d’Or. From 2016 onwards, FIFA will be flying solo with their newly-branded ‘The Best’ award ceremony in January every year.
Cristiano Ronaldo (winner in 2008) and Lionel Messi (winner in 2009) dominated the FIFA Ballon d’Or landscape, with the Real Madrid star winning twice and his Barcelona rival being crowned triumphant four more times.
The winner of this reborn FIFA award will be decided by a combination of factors: 50 per cent of the vote is decided by votes by captains and coaches for every national team and 50% to be split by online voters and selected international journalists.
The ‘new’ Ballon d’Or was awarded to Ronaldo last month, a few weeks after being crowned Goal 50 winner.
WHO WILL IN FIFA WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR?
Ronaldo is the overwhelming favourite to win the award of the three finalists having conquered the Champions League, Euro 2016 and the Club World Cup last year.
Messi’s mesmerising performances for Barcelona and Argentina ensure he’s a contender once again this year. Antoine Griezmann reached two European finals in 2016, enjoying a breakout year at Atletico Madrid and for France. Both are outsiders to trump Ronaldo to the FIFA award.
WHO WAS ON THE 23-MAN SHORTLIST?
The 23 nominees for the FIFA World’s Best Player of the Year were (finalists in bold): Sergio Aguero (Manchester City/Argentina), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid/Wales), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus/Italy), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United/Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/Germany), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City/Algeria), Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina), Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany), Neymar (Barcelona/Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal/Germany), Dimitri Payet (West Ham/France), Paul Pogba (Manchester United/France), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal/Chile), Luis Suarez (Barcelona/Uruguay), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City/England).
WHAT’S THE FULL LIST OF AWARDS?
Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016 – The award for best male footballer in the world last year.
Best FIFA Women’s Player 2016 – The award for best female footballer in the world last year. The three finalists are Melane Behringer (Bayern Munich/Germany), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash/USA) and Marta (FC Rosengard/Brazil).
Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2016 – The award for the best coach of male teams last year. The three finalists are Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City), Fernando Santos (Portugal) and Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid).
Best FIFA Women’s Coach 2016 – The nominees for best coach of the female teams last year are Jill Ellis (United States), Silvia Neid (Germany) and Pia Sundhage (Sweden).
FIFA Puskas Award 2016 – The award for the best goal of 2016. The full list of the nominees – including Messi and Neymar – can be watched by clicking here.
FIFA Fair Play Award 2016 – The award for the best moment of fair play last year. Previous winners have included Barcelona, World Cup 2006 fans, Paolo Di Canio and – last year – all football organisations supporting refugees.
FIFA Fan Award 2016 – A new supporter award that will be won by one of these three nominees: ADO Den Haag fans, Borussia Dortmund/Liverpool fans (one single entry) and Iceland fans.
FIFA FIFPro World11 – The award for the best 11 players from across the globe in a standard formation. Almost 25,000 players from an estimated 70 countries voted, according to FIFPRO, the worldwide union for professional footballers.
WHO IS HOSTING THE AWARD CEREMONY?
American actress Eva Longoria and German presenter Marco Schreyl will be hosting FIFA’s ‘The Best’ award ceremony in Zurich.
The hype will build on Monday afternoon with the ceremony kicking off at 17:30 UK time (12:30 US East Coast time) with the “green carpet” guiding in some of football’s most recognisable faces.
You’ll be able to follow the ceremony on Goal’s LIVE blog and get every update instantly on our social channels.
WILL SEPP BLATTER BE THERE?