Since the last 65 years, France Football has been awarding the Ballon d’Or annually to the best Football player of a calendar year. Although the points system and the rules regarding the award have evolved over the years to cope up with the dynamic nature of the game, it’s eminence as the most coveted Individual award in football remains untouched. Despite losing it’s ‘Official’ status after breaking ties with FIFA, the Ballon d’Or remains the only individual acclaim that the Players and fans look up to every year, even after the emergence of the newer FIFA The Best award.
There are some major attributes that make an award like the Ballon d’Or so special. The rarity of the award and the labyrinthine process to win it is just one of the reasons. The other prime factor that makes the Ballon d’Or so special, is the secrecy around it. There have been ample ‘leaks’ over the years that predicted the winner beforehand to tweak the betting odds but none till date have been accurate enough to be claimed as successful and were nothing but hoaxes.
In reality there are only two people in the world who know the winners of Ballon d’Or every year beforehand and both of them, as it could have been guessed, are members of the France Football Magazine.
The Secret-keeper of Ballon d’Or
According to a report by Rory Smith of NY Times, Pascal Ferré, editor-in-chief of France Football, is one of only two people at the magazine who knows the Ballon d’Or winner. Only in case of an emergency, the journalist’s executive assistant is the other person who knows the whereabouts of the winner.
Speaking about his big responsibility, Pascal Ferré jokingly said, “Imagine if I had an accident. There would still have to be a Ballon d’Or.”
“This is my sixth year in charge of the event,” he said. “I have not made a mistake yet.”
“I don’t want to lie, But I tell them that I can’t share their name because the winners do not know yet, and it would not be right for them not to be the first to find out.”
Pascal Ferré revealed that the winner and his close circle is alerted and cordially invited only at the very last possible moment. Alerting the player is important to maintain the proper flow of the ceremony as planned. It is often a very special moment for the players. The journalist said that when he had called Luka Modric to inform him that he had won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, the Croatian captain ‘cried like a child’.
After a long wait, the Ballon d’Or 2021 winner will finally be revealed tonight in Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet at 7:30 PM (GMT). Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, Jorginho Frello, Karim Benzema and Mohamed Salah are the prime contenders for this year’s award.
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