Ballon d'Or History

The Ballon d'Or award is an annual football award for the best player over the previous year. It was first awarded in 1956.

Up until 1995, the award was often referred to as the European Footballer of the Year award as it was only open to European players at European clubs. The eligibility rules were changed in 1995 to allow non-European players to be eligible for the award if they played for a European club. Then in 2007, any player in the world became eligible.



In 2018, the first women's Ballon d'Or award was presented (called the Ballon d'Or Féminin).

Many visitors to this page are looking for the results of the FIFA player of the year. Between 2009 and 2015 the Ballon d'Or and FIFA Player of the Year awards were merged to create the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

After 2009, the award was merged with the FIFA player of the year award. In 2016, France Football announced that their partnership with FIFA had come to an end and that they would revive the Ballon d'Or award, the 2016 edition became the 61st award.

Johan Cruyff being presented with one of his three Ballon d'Or awardsJohan Cruyff being presented with one of his three Ballon d'Or awards

2020 Award

Due to the disruption to world sport in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was no award given in 2020.

2021 Award

The most recent winner is Lionel Messi in 2021. Messi has won the men's Ballon d'Or award a record seven times (Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award five times).

2022 Award

The 30 nominees for the 2022 award were announced in August. Seven-time winner Lionel Messi is not on the list. The ceremony announcing the winners will be held on October 17. The favorite is Real Madrid's Karim Benzema.



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