Written By Onyeka Daniel
Recently, the FIFA Ballon D’or ceremony was held, an award to pick the best player of the year or previous year and in the last edition held, it was Argentine forward, Lionel Messi who won the award for the year 2023.
But from 2024 there will be significant changes to the format of the event after UEFA merged with French football magazine, including more individual awards and a coaching trophy. The Ballon d’Or was first created by France Football in 1956 and originally only went to the best European player.
But from 1995 it was expanded to any player who was active that season in a European club. From 1956 to 2006, only journalists were allowed to vote, but from 2007 coaches and captains of national teams also got to give their verdict.
According to today’s reports, UEFA will join in collaborating with France Football and L’Equipe to organise the Ballon d’Or from 2024. This will see it expanded to include new awards for best player in each club competition organised by UEFA (the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League).
There will also be an award for the best coach in both men’s and women’s football clubs. These is expected to give the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham the chance of winning the award next.
This is essentially combining the Ballon d’Or with the UEFA awards that are handed out in August, usually at the same time as the Champions League group stage draw. It Is not the first time this has happened, as from 2010 to 2015, the Ballon d’Or was merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
Already, there have been calls that Manchester City forward, Erling Haaland was more deserving of the award than Messi and with this new merger, the award will most likely go to players with more exploit in Europe.
It has been suggested that Messi’s exploit at the World Cup actually helped him win the 2023 Ballon D’or award, winning it for a record 8 times, as he led the Argentine national team to a World Cup triumph in Qatar late last year.
He has since moved to the MLS where he plays with Inter Miami. This could spell the end of an era and the reigh of two of football most consistent marksmen, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo with the Portuguese already playing in Saudi Arabia.
It’s looking likely that Swedish forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make a return to AC Milan, but this time as part of the club management after calling it quit at the end of last season. An insight into the responsibilities expected to be placed on him upon his return to the club has been provided.
Recently, claims were forthcoming in the media, pointing towards the Swede inching towards a return to Milanello. Keen to continue contributing beyond the pitch, however, it is understood that negotiations are now underway between the 42-year-old and Milan, over a new role behind the scenes.
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An insight into what this position is likely to entail has been forthcoming. According to a report from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ibrahimovic is primed to act as something of a link between Stefano Pioli’s squad, and the club’s board – a role most recently filled by Paolo Maldini.
Unlike Maldini, however, the ex-striker is not expected to have any say when it comes to transfer business. Nevertheless, Ibrahimovic is determined to be viewed as more than a symbolic figure, ready to make a real difference at San Siro. He will also be tasked with media duties on occasion.
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