The Ballon d’Or is an annual award that is presented to the world’s best footballer. Ever since its inception in 1956 (Winner: Stanley Matthews), the Ballon d’Or has been the most coveted and prestigious individual prize in all of football. Until 1995, it was widely referred to as the European Footballer of the Year as only players from Europe could win the prize. That year, the award was opened up to non-Europeans.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Ballon d’Or merged with FIFA’s ‘World Player of the Year’ award to form the FIFA Ballon d’Or. It returned to its former guise in 2016. Until 2022, it was awarded to the best footballer of the calendar year but it is now judged on the regular European football season (August to July).
An initial 30-man shortlist is compiled by the editors at France Football before votes are compiled from experts. The most recent winner of The Ballon d’Or (2019) is Lionel Messi