Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Ballon d’Or and the Voting Breakdown

January 13th, 2015 · 2 Comments · Barcelona, Brazil 2014, Fifa, Football, France, Lists, soccer, The National, World Cup

First, the irony. World soccer governing body Fifa won’t tell you how its two-dozen executive committee members voted after they hand out the World Cup …

But Fifa gives us chapter and verse on how the voting goes for the Ballon d’Or, the player-of-the-year award. Which Cristiano Ronaldo won tonight, as he should have, for the second straight year.

We know exactly how 546 voters from 182 national associations voted — first (five points), second (three points) and third (one point).

Which is helpful, and revealing and even fun.

Oh, and those three voters from each association? The captain of the national team, the coach of the national team, and one media member from their country.

Herewith, 11 interesting facts from the Ballon d’Or vote:

1. England is in big trouble. Their coach, Roy Hodgson, turned in one of the most random of the 546 ballots. Javier Mascherano first, Philipp Lahm second, Manuel Neuer third. Yes, if England is going to win something important any time soon, they will do it under a man who believes the world’s best player in 2014 was the midfielder/back for one of the less impressive Barcelona teams of the past decade. Blimey. (And the only other voter who thought Mascherano was the best player in the world last year was the Belarus coach, Andrei Zygmantovitch.)

2. By my count, 21 players appeared on at least one ballot (and all of them appeared on at least two), which I find vaguely comforting because I expected several of those 546 voters to go for a personal favorite. (Worse than Mascherano.) Maybe Mix Diskerud or Charlie Austin or Papiss Cisse. But no. Given a total of 1,538 voting slots, it never got weirder than Eden Hazard, who had three seconds and nine thirds. Not a single “Andy Carroll” sorta player.

3. Of the 21 players who received votes, all but two got first-place votes. Along with Eden Hazard, Yahya Toure was the only player to get votes but zero first-place votes.

4. The Cristiano Ronaldo ballot: 1) Sergio Ramos, a Real Madrid teammate; 2) Gareth Bale, a Real Madrid teammate; 3) Karim Benzema, a Real Madrid teammate.

5. The Lionel Messi ballot: 1) Angel di Maria, an Argentina teammate; 2) Andres Iniesta, a Barcelona teammate; 3) Javier Mascherano, an Argentina and Barcelona teammate.

(Thus, neither Ronaldo nor Messi, winners of the past seven Ballons d’Or, voted for each other, as per usual. It must be against the rules to vote for yourself, because no one holds Ronaldo in higher regard than Ronaldo.)

6. Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and Sergio Ramos each got one first-place vote. Mohamed Kenadid of Djibouti (media) thought Benzema was the best in the world and Oliver Luc of Tahiti (media) decided it was Pogba, the French forward. As noted above, Cristiano Ronaldo voted Ramos first.

7. Ronaldo, Messi or Neuer got all but 95 of the 546 first-place votes. Coaches were most likely to vote for someone other than those three; 38 of them did so, compared to 29 captains and 28 media.

8. Let’s list the first-place-vote getters we have not mentioned: Thomas Muller of Germany (19); Arjen Robben of Holland (14); Lahm of Germany (11); Neymar of Brazil and James Rodriguez of Colombia (6); Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze of Germany, and Gareth Bale of Wales (5); Thibault Courtois of Belgium (4); Andres Iniesta of Spain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden and Di Maria (3); Diego Costa of Brazil and Sebastian Schweinsteiger of Germany (2).

9. Of Mario Gotze’s five first-place votes, three came from the tiny Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia — the captain, coach and media guy all voted him No. 1. Strange.

10. Many voters wanted to award a German player, presumably because Germany won the Brazil 2014 World Cup. Six of the players on that team got at least one vote.

11. Cristiano Ronaldo did not appear on 99 ballots, and coaches were easily the most likely to ignore him; 45 did so, compared to 31 captains and 23 media members. However, 303 of the 546 voters had him first — 115 of 182 media members, 99 of 182 captains and 89 of 182 (less than half) of the coaches.

12. And a bonus for American readers, the Jurgen Klinsmann ballot: Neuer, Ronaldo, Robben; and the Clint Dempsey ballot: Ronaldo, Messi, Muller.

I could go on. I won’t. Just wanted to share.


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David // Jan 14, 2015 at 6:55 PM

    Wait, who was the American media voter, and what were his (or her) votes?

  • 2 Doug // Jan 14, 2015 at 7:51 PM

    Paul Kennedy of Soccer America was the U.S. media voter. His selections:
    1. Cristiano Ronaldo
    2. Lionel Messi
    3. Philipp Lahm

Leave a Comment