Good evening and welcome to our live blog coverage of the Ballon D’Or, which is French for “horrible tuxedo”. The event takes place in Paris and it might well be a short victory lap home for one Lionel Messi, who is the favourite to take the men’s trophy, which will be nice for him and his teammates at PSG we are sure and absolutely in no way a source of jealousy.
The Argentine genius has already won it six times and a seventh will surely not do anything to improve the mood of a Mr C Ronaldo of Manchester, who has already suffered the recent indignity of being left on the subs bench and might now have to watch his great rival bossing it on the red carpet. In winning the Copa America with Argentina this year, Messi answered the only reasonable (and really, not very reasonable) claim against his GOAT status, ie that he hadn’t done it on the international stage. We have all run out of superlatives about this magical little feller and who could possibly argue against him winning this gong again tonight? The ceremony will be at 7.30pm GMT and we’ll have all the build up, gossip and whatnot for you right here.
The mighty pole Robert Lewandowski was thought to be in the pound seats for the award last year before it was cancelled, and Chelsea’s Jorginho is also in with a shout at the minor places. He won the Champions League and Euro 2020 with his Italy in a pretty golden summer.
As for the women’s award, Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema are the favourites. Vivianne Miedema was named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2021 earlier, and as the Netherlands and Women’s Super League all-time leading goalscorer, a clearly very worthy winner.
However, not everybody is happy. Here’s m’colleague Tom Garry, who has some thoughts for the organisers in this comment piece: Ballon d’Or scheduling proves the women’s game remains an afterthought
Spain’s Pedri is fancies to win the Kopa Trophy for the best men’s young player, while Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and PSG’s Gianluigi Donnarumma head the field for the men’s goalkeeper award, the Yashin Trophy.
The bash is at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, and will kick off at 7.30pm. You can follow it all here with us or, if you’re really keen, on YouTube via L’Equipe or on Eurosport’s website.