Spanish sports paper Mundo Deportivo has reportedly learned who will win the next Ballon d’Or about, a week before the scheduled official announcement. It’s a tad unfortunate that a reported leak of this magnitude came this year, because MD’s info says what everyone already knew: Cristiano Ronaldo will win it.
The reason all of this appears to have come out now almost certainly has to do with the recent changes to the Ballon d’Or. No longer the FIFA-controlled award it has been for the past half-decade, the Ballon d’Or is once again under the domain of the sports magazine France Football—the body that created the original version before merging it with FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2010. France Football’s version of the award is voted on by a select group of journalists from around the world, and it will not be handed out in a live awarding process the way FIFA used to do it.
It’s that last point that’s why the news got out today. MD claims that both Ronaldo and Real Madrid have already been alerted to the Portuguese forward’s impending win, in part so that the magazine can set up a photo shoot and interview with Ronaldo so as to have everything ready for the Tuesday edition of the mag right after the results are officially announced on Monday night. This photo shoot is reportedly scheduled for Thursday.
As for the award itself, again, it’s no surprise. It was obvious right as Ronaldo led Portugal to the Euro 2016 title with his inspirational arm-flailing and impassioned shouts from the sideline that he was going to win this thing. A major international trophy and winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, to go along with the zillion goals he always scores, makes him a perfectly acceptable winner. And anyway, these kinds of awards are dumb and meaningless anyway, so it would be no real tragedy if he weren’t as qualified as he is.
FIFA, by the way, will still be handing out its own Ballon d’Or-esque award, replete with the pomp and circumstance and loud suits we’ve come to expect during their live ceremony in January. The winner of the first annual FIFA Best Men’s Player award hasn’t leaked yet, and if past evidence holds it won’t, but we feel pretty confident predicting that Ronaldo will win that one, too. A big year for the big guy.