Happy Ballon d’Or day!
Yes, we’re already at the time of year when the most coveted individual award in football is handed out.
Here is everything you need to know before events unfold in France.
When and where is it?
The ceremony is being held in Paris and there’s likely to be a live stream on the France Football website.
Things should get underway at 19:30 CET.
Who are the favourites?
Virgil van Dijk could become the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 to win the prize.
However, Lionel Messi is standing in his way. And yes, the Argentine is expected to take the crown home for a record sixth time.
Either Sadio Mané or Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to complete the top three but don’t expect either to be leaving with the trophy.
Other outsiders include Robert Lewandowski, Raheem Sterling and Alisson.
Last year’s winner, Luka Modrić, did not even make the shortlist, so it certainly won’t be him.
How is the winner decided?
A jury of journalists from all footballing nations are asked to give their top five players.
The criteria given to the journalists are:
- Individual & collective performances during the year
- Player class in terms of fair play and talent
- An overall judgement of the player’s career
Are any other awards up for grabs?
Yes! We’re glad you asked.
There will be presentations for …
- Ballon d’Or Féminin (Best women’s player)
- Kopa Trophy (Best U21 player)
- Lev Yashin Trophy (Best goalkeeper)