It’s that time of the year again! Yup, that time when the air’s buzzing with discussions about who’s gonna’ win the “Ballon d’Or”. However, courtesy of France Football we already have a shortlist of 30 Ballon d’Or nominees who’ll be contesting for the title. So here we have for you a comprehensive article that details everything you need to know about the upcoming awards, it’s history, patterns, background, guidelines, date, and of course, the nominees, followed by predictions of the winner!
There is a minor change this year, okay not quite that minor. FIFA and France Football had come together in 2010 to join their Ballon d’Or [also known as European Footballer of the Year award] and FIFA World Player of the Year awards. However, owing to their recent split The 2016 FIFA Ballon d’Or will go back to being Ballon d’Or. This means that in lieu of one combined award, this year there will be two separate awards crowning the best players — the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA award.
Who will be Voting?
For the past 5 years, the winner has been decided based on votes by national team coaches and captains. However, now that it’s reverting back to original form only the most respected and acclaimed Football Journalists will get a say in who wins the Ballon d’Or. However, the FIFA award will be voted upon by the captains and coaches of national teams.
Guidelines for the Ballon d’Or Award
- Highly respected and acclaimed journalists from the major Football countries (France, Germany, Spain and England) will cast their lots in the voting process.
- Only a shortlist of 30 players will be announced. There will be no 3-man shortlist.
- The winner of the award will finally be announced in December of 2016.
- According to the scoring system, each journalist will have to pick their top three choices. The first of these will get 5 points, the second would get 3 and the third would get 1. The winner would be decided based on the overall point scores.
When will the ceremony take place?
The date for the Ballon d’Or ceremony is set for the 9th of January, 2017, which happens to be a Monday. The exact time would be 8AM PST.
Ballon d’Or Nominees – 2016/2017
The following includes the list of Ballon d’Or nominees and predictions about who might win.
The Confirmed List of Ballon d’Or Nominees
Defenders and Keepers: Manuel Neuer (GK), Rui Patricio (GK), Gianluigi Buffon (GK), Hugo Lloris (GK), Sergio Ramos, Diego Godín and Pepe.
Midfielders: Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba, Dimitri Payet, Luka Modric, Riyad Mahrez, Toni Kroos, Koke, Andres Iniesta, Kevin De Bruyne, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Forwards: Jamie Vardy, Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, Neymar, Thomas Muller, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gonzalo Higuain, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and Aubameyang.
The first thing worth looking at when trying to gauge patterns is the previous years voting records of the Ballon d’Or nominees. If we go through the voting statistics from the previous years, we can see that Messi won his 5th award with an overwhelming landslide vote of 41.33%, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo at 27.76%. As you can probably tell from these numbers that not many votes were cast for any of the others taking the prize. Neymar came third at 7.86%. And the remaining numbers are too inconsequential to get into. Of course, the guidelines and voter groups have changed since last year, so this isn’t entirely reliable.
However, these results can hardly be seen in isolation. Especially when you consider that this has been the pattern for the last eight years. It’s like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only candidates that matter and the others are only scrambling for the third spot!
Ronaldo won the award back in 2008. Following that Lionel snatched the title for the four consecutive years. Ronaldo followed that with two consecutive wins, before Lionel Messi again resumed his throne last year. However, here’s the interesting bit. Since the award has split into two, it is highly likely that both of them might win an award each.
Why Ronaldo Will Win
Prior to the split consensus ruled in his favor. He had an especially lucrative year having won both the Champions League and the Euro 2016 with Portugal. He had a major part to play in both the teams winning and he could even garner a couple of iconic moments while at it which could very well go down the annals of the history of the game.
However, despite public consensus, there was also a loud and group of critics who believed that his performance during the Champions League Final was sub-par and that Portugal could have very well won the title without him. If those critics have a say in the matter, they might rule in favor of Messi.
Why Messi Will Win
Just because Ronaldo won bigger titles doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll win this title as well. Back in 2012 he definitely won far more club titles, but still came up short of Messi in the tally. Messi has had a pretty impressive year. He’s scored more goals than Ronaldo — 41, as opposed to his 34. Messi’s overall gameplay seems to be far superior to that of Ronaldo’s, having started the season with more goals and assists, and for more hat tricks in the Champions League. Besides these, Messi also won the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, and the Spanish League. While Ronaldo’s teams might have won bigger titles, Messi does seem more compelling in his play and after all the award is given out to an individual rather than a team.
However, he is also not without his fair share of critics, who will no doubt take into consideration his failure in the UCL, and for Argentina in the Copa America. This is an especially vehement botch on his near perfect record, having led his club to the final only to let them down, and missing a penalty shootout. If this weren’t enough, he also quit immediately following, a move which drew vapid criticism.
So now you know everything you need to know to be caught up. Obviously, the title is just between Ronaldo and Messi. However, we tried to reserve judgment, merely highlighting what they have going for them and what they have gone against them.
Let us know down in the comments section who you predict would win the award amongst the nominees. Who’ll take which, or do you believe one of them might walk away with both? Let us know your predictions. We’d love to hear from you!