FIFA president Sepp Blatter today announced that both the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or awards will be combined into one single trophy to recognise the world’s best player in football.
Both the sport’s governing body and France Football hand out their own individual awards each year to the footballer that they recognise as having been the best over the past year. However, that will now change with both organisations coming together to form the newly named FIFA Ballon d’Or trophy which will crown its first recipient on January 10, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Blatter said: “The winner is football because as of January of next year we will have one single trophy for the best player in the world and this will be the Golden Ball.”
The winner of the award will be chosen after votes cast by the coaches and captains of the national teams with those from the media.
Barcelona star Lionel Messi currently holds both awards after sweeping them last year, taking over previous winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Ballon d’Or was created in 1956 to recognise the best player deemed by the media. FIFA only created their own trophy for the World Player of the Year in 1991. However, the two awards have sometimes caused confusion amongst fans as different players could win in the same year, with the most recent case happening in 2004 when Adrei Schevchenko picked up the Ballon d’Or while Ronaldino claimed the first of his two FIFA World Player of the Year awards.