We are just a few weeks away from finding out the winners of the 2023 Ballon d’Or.
Karim Benzema took the crown last year, the first award after a number of changes were made to the ceremony. Those changes included the award taking into account seasons (August to July), rather than years, meaning 2022 was handed out for 2021/22 and didn’t take into account any fast starts to 2022/23.
That means that the 2022 Men’s World Cup would not be taken into account until the current edition, which has slightly skewed who might win it. Other changes included only the top 100 countries in the men’s FIFA’s rankings having representatives for the vote, and the top 50 for the women’s.
In September, France Football — who run the Ballon d’Or award — announced their 30-player shortlist for the men’s and 20 for the women’s, as well as the nominees for the Kopa Trophy (young player) and Yachine Trophy (best goalkeeper).
The brainchild of sports writer Gabriel Hanot, his vision of honouring those who have performed exceedingly well across the past year became reality in 1956 when Sir Stanley Matthews won the inaugural Ballon d’Or (or golden ball, in English).
Voted on primarily by journalists, until 1995 only European players were eligible for the prize. Liberia’s George Weah was the first non-European recipient, and he would dedicate his prize to his former AS Monaco coach Arsene Wenger.
For a while the award merged with Fifa’s own annual prize before France Football ended that partnership.
Who are the Ballon d’Or favourites?
With the 2023 Ballon d’Or including the World Cup (for both men’s and women’s), favourites were based around who won the competitions. As everyone knows, Lionel Messi led Argentina to World Cup glory at the end of last year, and he has already won FIFA’s The Best Award for that success.
The Argentine had fierce competition from Erling Halaand, who scored 52 goals in 53 games across all competitions for Manchester City as they won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. He broke the Premier League single-season scoring record (plus many others) with 36 goals in 35 games and also netted 12 in 11 Champions League matches.
However, there were recently leaks reporting that Messi will win Ballon d’Or for a record-extending eighth time.
Another name included high up in the early favourites was Haaland’s Man City teammate Rodri, who won the Champions League Player of the Season (while Haaland scooped UEFA Men’s Player of the Year). But Rodri has already conceded that he has no chance to win the Ballon d’Or, believing a lack of marketing counts against him.
“The individual awards, I know that it is an award with a lot of marketing,” he said when asked by COPE about being the only Spaniard nominated.
“Next to the monsters I am with, of course I lacked marketing, like Xavi and (Andres) Iniesta. I worry about the things I can control and that is collective awards.
“I think a certain Leo Messi is going to take it. Haaland also has a very large figure and has merits.”
The reports of Messi winning the Ballon d’Or also claimed that Aitana Bonmati will take the Ballon d’Or Feminin for her role in Barcelona winning the league and Champions League, as well as Spain winning the Women’s World Cup.
When are the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards?
The 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place on Monday October 30th, at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. There is no start time confirmed just yet, but last year’s ceremony started at 8pm UK time.
Where can I watch the 2023 Ballon d’Or awards?
The Ballon d’Or ceremony is usually streamed live for free on L’Equipe’s YouTube channel.