Lionel Messi on Monday night was bestowed with the prize as winner of the Ballon d’Or for the seventh time in his most illustrious career.
Messi beat off the competition from Bayern Munich striker and Poland international Robert Lewandowski at a glittering event.
Many faithful still get confused over the difference between the Ballon d’ Or award and the FIFA The Best award which will be done in January 2022.
Below is the information you need to know about the two football gongs as presented by Izuchukwu Okosi.
Following a split between FIFA and French publication France Football in 2016, we now have two major individual award ceremonies each year, the Ballon d’Or and FIFA The Best.
Not long after being elected as FIFA president, Gianni Infantino severed ties the organization held with France Football and the subsequent termination of the deal ended the governing body’s involvement with the Ballon d’Or award (running since 1956) and spawned FIFA’s bespoke individual award, ‘The Best’.
Although both awards have the same premise in awarding outstanding individual talent, there are some aspects to differentiate both awards.
The Ballon d’Or award was created in 1956 by French journalist as an accolade to celebrate individual brilliance in the team game and is generally regarded as the most prestigious within the game.
Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews was the winner of the first award with Leo Messi the current holder with the Argentine scooping the prize in 2019 with the pandemic seeing no winner in 2020.
FIFA became involved in the award from 2010-2015 when the award was re-branded the ‘FIFA Ballon d’Or’.
The winner is selected following the votes of a select number of journalists from around the world and s based in player performance during the calendar year.
The ceremony takes place traditionally in December each year (albeit the 2021 edition will take place in late November) and is staged in the French capital.
The awards have branched out to also include awards for the best young player, female player, goalkeeper.
FIFA ‘The Best’:
Following the breakaway from France Football, FIFA staged the first ‘The Best’ ceremony in January, 2017 in Zurich (Switzerland) with Cristiano Ronaldo picking up the first award.
Voting for this award is carried out by an international jury which composes of national team managers and captains, a pool of journalists and a percentage of the vote is also made by fans who vote through the FIFA website.
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was awarded ‘The Best’ for 2020 and the next edition of the event will be held ‘virtually’ in Zurich of January 2022 with voting currently open and running through to 10 December.
‘The Best’ awards also include a series of sub-awards for the like of ‘Best Goalkeeper’, ‘Best Women’s Player, ‘Best Coach’.
Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.