The prestigious Ballon d’Or awards, recognising the world’s best soccer players, will be co-organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) starting in 2024. This partnership signifies a significant development in the soccer world, as UEFA and Groupe Amaury, the publisher of France Football and L’Equipe, will collaborate to host the awards and ceremony.
The Ballon d’Or, established by France Football magazine in 1956, will now enjoy the backing of UEFA, marking the end of a seven-year period since a previous partnership between the award’s French organisers and FIFA. The Ballon d’Or ceremony was known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or from 2010 to 2016, with the awards being held in FIFA’s home city of Zurich. Since 2016, FIFA has been organising its own Best Awards.
This year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, held in Paris, saw Lionel Messi win the men’s prize for the eighth time and Aitana Bonmatí receive her first women’s award.
Under this new collaboration, UEFA will utilise its football expertise, market global commercial rights, and manage the annual awards gala. The relaunch of the Ballon d’Or awards will also introduce new categories to honour the best coaches in men’s and women’s soccer. In addition, UEFA will discontinue its Player of the Year awards, which were traditionally presented in August but will continue to recognise outstanding players in its club competitions with awards such as the Champions League and Europa League.
This partnership is aimed at elevating the stature and global reach of the Ballon d’Or awards while fostering unity and collaboration within the football community, according to UEFA. This collaboration between UEFA and France Football is expected to make the Ballon d’Or awards even more prestigious and globally significant, adding to the excitement in the world of soccer.
How Lionel Messi Beat Erling Haaland to the 2023 Ballon d’Or Award
Argentinian forward Lionel Messi claimed his eighth Ballon d’Or title, securing the prestigious men’s award at the 2023 ceremony in recognition of his outstanding season with Paris Saint-Germain and the Argentina national team. Prior to his transfer to Inter Miami in the summer, the 36-year-old played a pivotal role in Argentina’s 2022 World Cup victory, scoring twice during the final in Qatar and also contributing a crucial goal in the penalty shootout, leading his team to victory over the 2018 champions, France. Additionally, Messi netted an impressive 32 goals in 55 games across all competitions for PSG, playing a crucial part in the team’s capture of the Ligue 1 title.
David Beckham, co-owner of Inter Miami, presented Messi with the coveted Ballon d’Or award at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, earning a standing ovation from the audience. When asked if this award was more special considering it came after winning the 2022 World Cup, Messi responded, “They’re all special.” He further stated, “I couldn’t imagine having the career I’ve had and everything I’ve achieved—the fortune I’ve had to be part of the best team in history.” Beckham, speaking on Messi, highlighted the significance of having him as a Miami player and celebrating his achievements in their city.
In the women’s Ballon d’Or category, Aitana Bonmati was awarded the Ballon d’Or, recognising her contributions to guiding Spain to World Cup victory and her exceptional performances throughout the tournament. She expressed her pride in winning the award and emphasised the responsibility athletes have on and off the pitch to set an example and contribute to a better, more peaceful, and equal world.
Chelsea star Sam Kerr was the runner-up, while Barcelona’s Salma Paralluelo and Fridolina Rolfo secured the third and fourth positions, respectively. English Lionesses Mary Earps and Rachel Daly also made it to the top ten, with the goalkeeper placing fifth and Daly finishing tenth.