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Ballon D’Or

November 30, 2012 by  

Ballon D’Or, All awards ceremonies prompt revulsion but Fifa knows it is pretty much impossible to be interested in football and not also be drawn towards the epic two-hander that is Messi-Ronaldo, There are, of course, many reasons to hate the Ballon d’Or award, many of them robust and persuasive. Most obviously there is the basic problem with all awards ceremonies, the paralysis of inauthenticity that inevitably overwhelms all human beings present, driven at the top end by the necessity to appear both humble and magnanimous in victory, and below this by the spectacle of your peers being publicly celebrated, an experience that must out of necessity induce very human feelings of shock, hurt, revulsion, impotence and creeping death.

Many such terrible moments are standard issue across any awards ceremony: from people at adjacent tables who leap up and do look-at-my-extrovert-humility applause when someone else wins something, to any kind of soulful filmic montage along the those-not-as-fortunate-as-us lines, to the moment just before a really big award envelope is opened where the host must lower his voice and adopt an expression of transcendental yearning reminiscent of the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark just before their faces melt.

The Ballon d’Or’s three-man main award shortlist was announced this week, with the ceremony due to take place on 7 January, an occasion that carries its own more specific horrors. Following 2010’s aggressive takeover, during which the venerable old European Footballer of the Year was merged with Fifa’s own golden whatnot, this is now an entirely Fifa-dominated occasion, and hence must be characterised not just by tearful corporate insincerity but by a grasping sense of ownership: in part the award is now essentially an advert for Fifa, an organisation that must strive constantly to overcome the fact it only exists in any meaningful form every four years.

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