The two prizes combined for five years to become the Fifa Ballon d'Or but in 2016 reverted to their original formats
For five years the Ballon d’Or and the Fifa Men’s Player Award combined to recognise the world’s best footballer. But in 2016 they split and reverted to their original formats – allowing for two different players to be celebrated as top dog.
Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or in 2016 after the gong split from the Fifa Men’s Player of the Year Award. Here, CheerOnNigeria explains everything there is to know about the two prizes.
What is the difference between the Ballon d’Or and the Fifa Men’s Player Award?
The difference between the Ballon d’Or and the Fifa Men’s Player Award comes down to the organisations in charge.
The Ballon d’Or was initially set up by French publication France Football in 1956, with Sir Stanley Matthews its first winner.
It was often referred to as the European Football of the Year award, and was the first of its kind until 1991. That year, Fifa introduced its own gong known as the World Player of the Year award, and from 1995 allowed players from outside Europe to be considered for the prize.
Both awards existed alongside each other until 2010, when they were joined by Fifa in order to create a single prestigious gong – the Fifa Ballon d’Or – which would recognise just one player as best in the world.
In six years, Lionel Messi won it four times and rival Cristiano Ronaldo captured it twice. But last year, Fifa president Gianni Infantino scrapped the combined honour and reverted back to the original system.
Why did the Ballon d’Or and the Fifa Men’s Player Award get separated?
Fifa’s decision to split the Fifa Ballon d’Or award was made in order to improve its relations with England’s FA, according to reports.This is based on the fact the annual ceremony was held in Zurich – and Infantino wants to move the next one to London.
The Swiss-Italian’s objective is to repair the organisation’s strained relationship with FA chairman Greg Clarke.
The head of English football has distanced himself from Fifa following the corruption scandal and controversial decisions to allow Russia and Qatar host the next two World Cups. But Infantino sees Clarke as a valuable ally and so will offer the first Fifa World Player of the Year award as an olive branch.
Who decides the Ballon d’Or and Fifa Men’s Player of the Year awards?
The Ballon d’Or will be judged solely by a panel of select journalists.
But the Fifa Men’s Player of the Year award will be decided by a complex voting system. Fifty per cent of the decision will be based on the votes of captains and coaches from national teams around the globe, with the other 50 per cent to be split between an online public ballot and submissions from a selected group of over 200 media representatives.
Can there be two separate winners for the Ballon d’Or and Fifa Men’s Player of the Year Award?
There can be a separate winner for each award. This means Ronaldo could win one gong and Messi the other in the same year.
In 2004, AC Milan’s Andriy Shevchenko won the Ballon d’Or while Barcelona’s Ronaldinho claimed the Fifa Men’s Player of the Year Award.
When are the Ballon d’Or and Fifa Men’s Player of the Year awards announced?
The Ballon d’Or is not due to be announced until December, with Ronaldo winning the 2016 prize last month.
The Fifa Men’s Player of the Year Award will be announced on January 9. A three-man shortlist of Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann and Messi was released on December 2.