Each year, the spotlight is cast upon the Ballon d’Or ceremony, where the finest male and female players on the football world receive their honors.
Since its inception in 1956, the “Golden Ball” trophy has been presented to some of the most renowned figures in football history, becoming an emblem of the game’s greatest talents.
The Ballon d’Or gala is now more than just the presentation of two trophies; it also includes recognition for the best male goalkeeper, the top male player under 21, as well as awards for the best club, the leading goal scorer, and acts of sportsmanship.
The Sporting News is here to provide you with all the essential information about the world’s most iconic football award and the revered “Golden Ball” trophy.
What exactly is the Ballon d’Or?
The Ballon d’Or, known as the “Golden Ball” in French, stands as the pinnacle of individual recognition in the realm of world football. It celebrates the most outstanding male and female players across the globe.
Over the years, this esteemed award has been conferred upon some of the sport’s all-time greats, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, and numerous others. The Golden Ball made its debut in 1956, with French publication France Football being the inaugural presenter. Since then, it has been an annual tradition, with the exception of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted proceedings. The upcoming 2022 ceremony will mark the 66th edition of this renowned event.
In 2018, a significant development occurred with the introduction of the Ballon d’Or Féminin, designed to honor the world’s premier female player. Below, you’ll find the 2022 finalists for the women’s category.
Battle for the Ballon d’Or
Lionel Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, claim his eighth award? Alternatively, could Erling Haaland, Manchester City’s prolific goal scorer, clinch his first-ever prestigious individual football accolade?
Messi, as the captain of Argentina, led his team to victory in the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar. Additionally, he secured the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain at the club level.
On the other hand, Haaland achieved a remarkable treble with Manchester City in his debut season for the club, netting an impressive 52 goals across all competitions.
Given Argentina’s World Cup victory and Manchester City’s impressive haul of titles in the Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup, it comes as no shock that the list of nominees for the award is predominantly composed of players from Argentina and Manchester City.
Notably, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the Ballon d’Or five times and has been a fixture on the list since 2003, has been left out this time.
In the realm of the Ballon d’Or Féminin, Aitana Bonmati of Spain emerges as the leader. Her exceptional season included leading La Roja to their inaugural World Cup triumph and securing the Champions League title with FC Barcelona.
The unveiling of the winners is scheduled for the Ballon d’Or ceremony, set to occur on October 30th at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.
You can discover the comprehensive list of nominees for both the men’s and women’s awards below.
Nominees in the Men’s: Ballon d’Or 2023
- André Onana – Inter-Manchester United/Cameroon
- Josko Gvardiol – RB Lipsia-Manchester City/Croatia
- Karim Benzema – Real Madrid-Al Ittihad
- Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich/Germany
- Mohamed Salah – Liverpool/Egypt
- Jude Bellingham – Borussia Dortmund-Real Madrid/England
- Bukayo Saka – Arsenal/England
- Randal Kolo Muani – Eintracht Frankfurt-Paris Saint-Germain/France
- Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City/Belgium
- Lionel Messi – Paris Saint-Germain-Inter Miami/Argentina
- Rodri – Manchester City/Spain
- Lautaro Martínez – Inter Milan/Argentina
- Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid/France
- Robert Lewandowski – Barcelona/Poland
- Kylian Mbappé – Paris Saint-Germain/France
- Kim Min-jae – Napoli-Bayern Munich/South Korea
- Victor Osimhen – Napoli/Nigeria
- Luka Modric – Real Madrid/Croatia
- Harry Kane – Tottenham-Bayern Munich/England
- Bernardo Silva – Manchester City/Portugal
- Emiliano Martínez – Aston Villa/Argentina
- Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – Napoli/Georgia
- Rúben Dias – Manchester City/Portugal
- Nicolò Barella – Inter Milan/Italy
- Erling Haaland – Manchester City/Norway
- Yassine Bounou – Sevilla-Al Hilal/Morocco
- Martin Ødegaard – Arsenal/Norway
- Julián Álvarez – Manchester City/Argentina
- Ilkay Gündogan – Barcelona/Germany
- Vinícius Júnior – Real Madrid/Brazil
Nominees in the Women’s: Ballon d’Or 2023
- Aitana Bonmatí – Barcelona/Spain
- Millie Bright – Chelsea/England
- Linda Caicedo – Real Madrid/Colombia
- Olga Carmona – Real Madrid/Spain
- Rachel Daly – Aston Villa/England
- Debinha – North Carolina-Kansas City/Brazil
- Kadidiatou Diani – Paris Saint-Germain-Lyon/France
- Mary Earps – Manchester United/England
- Patricia Guijarro – Barcelona/Spain
- Yui Hasegawa – Manchester City/Japan
- Amanda Ilestedt – Paris-Saint Germain-Arsenal/Sweden
- Alba Redondo – Levante/Spain
- Guro Reiten – Chelsea/Norway
- Wendie Renard – Lyon/France
- Fridolina Rolfo – Barcelona/Sweden
- Jill Roord – Wolfsburg-Manchester City/Netherlands
- Khadija Shaw – Manchester City/Jamaica
- Sophia Smith – Portland Thorns/United States
- Georgia Stanway – Bayern Munich/England
- Daphne van Domselaar – Twente-Aston Villa/Netherlands
- Sam Kerr – Chelsea/Australia
- Mapi Leon – Barcelona/Spain
- Katie McCabe – Arsenal/Republic of Ireland
- Hinata Miyazawa – MyNavi Senday-Manchester United/Japan
- Lena Oberdorf – Wolfsburg/Germany
- Asisat Oshoala – Barcelona/Nigeria
- Ewa Pajor – Wolfsburg/Poland
- Salma Paralluelo – Barcelona/Spain
- Alexandra Popp – Wolfsburg/Germany
- Hayley Raso – Manchester City-Real Madrid/Australia
In the world of football, the Ballon d’Or shines as the ultimate individual honor. For decades, it has celebrated exceptional talents, including legends like Messi, Ronaldo, Maradona, and Zidane.
The rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo elevated its global stature, spurring changes in its format. Now, the Ballon d’Or includes several categories, recognizing the best in men’s and women’s football. As we anticipate the 2022 winners, the event continues to captivate the football world.