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FIFA Ballon d’Or Special

On 13 January, football fans from all over the world will shift their attention to Zurich, where this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or gala will be held.

In the build-up, Soccer-Laduma will also put some special attention on the prestigous award throughout the next days.

At the gala the world’s best players and coaches from men’s and women’s football will be announced. But the main question that everybody will be asking is, who is the best male player in the world?

Will it be Lionel Messi for the fifth time or will it be his bitter rival Cristiano Ronaldo or can Frank Ribery upset the two and take to trophy to France?

At the Soccer-Laduma office our journalists have voted themselves and throughout the next five days we will be presenting our top 10 of the world’s best players (based on the 23 nominees).

We will announce these players and give you more background information on their 2013 performance in the following order:

10 & 9 – Thursday, 9 January

8 & 7 – Friday, 10 January

6 & 5 – Saturday, 11 January

4 & 3 – Sunday, 12 January

2 & 1 – Monday, 13 January

Today, we want to start by giving you a few more insights of what the Ballon d’Or is actually about.

What does world best player or FIFA Ballon d’Or winner actual mean?

FIFA defines the award as “bestowed according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch.”

How many players make the shortlist and who compiles it?

A 23-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or was compiled by the FIFA Football Committee and a group of experts from France Football. It was announced on 29 October.

Who were the 23 shortlisted players?

Gareth Bale (Wales), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Müller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Özil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Franck Ribéry (France), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Yaya Touré (Côte d’Ivoire), Robin Van Persie (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain)

Who are the final three shortlisted nominees and when was the voting deadline?

From this list the final three – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery – were announced on 9 December after the voting deadline had been extended from 15 November to 29 November.

Who is allowed to vote for the FIFA Ballon d’Or?

According to FIFA’s regulations “coaches of national teams, captains of national teams and specialist journalists (limited to one journalist per country)” building “a diverse international jury.”

How many votes does each jury member have?

Each jury member can nominate three players, of which each nomination receives 5, 3 or 1 point(s) based on who the respective jury member voted best, second-best and third-best.

Who will get the award?

The Award will be given to the player who received the highest number of votes.

How long does the FIFA Ballon d’Or exist?

The FIFA Ballon d’Or award in its current format has been existing since 2010 after France Football’s Ballon d’Or and the men’s FIFA World Player of the Tear award were merged.

The winner of the inaugural 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or award was Lionel Messi ahead of Andres Iniesta and Xavi. In 2011 and 2012 Messi defended the award ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi and Andres Iniesta respectively.

What was the FIFA Ballon d’or called before 2010 and who won it?

Until 2010 FIFA awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year award since 1991. It has been dominated by European-based players from Brazil, winning it eight out of 18 times. Ronalda de Lima and Zinedine Zidane won the award three times each.

Ronaldo de Lima, who won it at the age of 20 in 1996, was the youngest winner and Fabio Cannavaro, who was 33 when he won it in 2006, was the oldest.

Who are the previous male FIFA World Player of the Year winners since 1991?

1991: Lothar Matthaeus (Germany)

1992: Marco van Basten (Holland)

1993: Roberto Baggio (Italy)

1994: Romario (Brazil)

1995: George Weah (USA)

1996: Ronaldo de Lima (Brazil)

1997: Ronaldo de Lima (Brazil)

1998: Zinedine Zidane (France)

1999: Rivaldo (Brazil)

2000: Zinedine Zidane (France)

2001: Luis Figo (Portugal)

2002: Ronaldo de Lima (Brazil)

2003: Zinedine Zidane (France)

2004: Ronaldinho (Brazil)

2005: Ronaldinho (Brazil)

2006: Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)

2007: Kaka (Brazil)

2008: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

2009: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Who won the FIFA Ballon d’Or since 2010?

2010: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

2011: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

2012: Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Apart from Messi, Ronaldo and Ribery, which other seven players make your world’s top 10? Have your say in the comment section below.

By David Kappel

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