Ballon d’Or awards to be co-organised by UEFA from next year

By Sports Desk November 03, 2023

The prestigious Ballon d’Or awards will be co-organised by UEFA from next year.

European football’s governing body has reached an agreement with Group Amaury, the owner of media companies France Football and L’Equipe, to “enhance the stature and global reach of the awards”.

Argentinian star Lionel Messi won his eighth Ballon d’Or title earlier this week after steering his country to World Cup glory last year, with Spanish World Cup star Aitana Bonmati winning the women’s prize.

The merging of the awards means an end to the UEFA awards handed out in August each year, with the exception of the President’s Award which will still be presented alongside the draws for the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

There will also still be accolades for the best player in each of UEFA’s club competitions, which are determined by its technical study group and announced within days of each competition’s final.

Under the new partnership, UEFA said all existing Ballon d’Or awards will remain in place with the addition of men’s and women’s coach of the year prizes.

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    The Revs sit last in the Eastern Conference standings with just four points from their first eight games of 2024, having lost their last two against New York City (0-2) and Toronto FC (0-1).

    Miami, meanwhile, are setting the pace in the East with 18 points from 10 matches, Lionel Messi scoring twice to help Gerardo Martino's team to a 3-1 win over Nashville SC last time out.

    Having started to come under pressure just five months into his reign, Porter says the Revs should approach Saturday's match with a clean slate. 

    "The first eight games weren't good enough in terms of our record, points, goals for, goals against," Porter said. "Bottom line, it wasn't good enough.

    "Right now, it's almost a new mini season, these next eight games. What's our record going to be at the end of these eight games?"

    Defender Nick Lima, meanwhile, called on the Revs to stay calm as he pointed out how quickly things can change in MLS.

    "Things happen fast in this league, man," he said. "We're one or two games away, then you're fighting for a playoff spot already, and who knows what happens from there?"

    The Revs could be in luck for Saturday's match, with reports suggesting the artificial turf used in Foxborough could cause Miami to think twice about risking some of their stars.

    Jordi Alba is injured and Luis Suarez may be held back, given his history of knee issues, but Miami full-back Julian Gressel expects Messi to feature.

    "I will ask when we're preparing for the game, but I'm sure we'll find out who will be available," Gressel said during an appearance on the Player/Manager podcast.

    "But he [Suarez] is the only one who has a question mark. Of course, Alba's hurt."

    Asked if Martino may decide against risking Messi, he added: "Not from what I've heard."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New England Revolution – Tomas Chancalay

    New England are the lowest scoring team in MLS with just five goals this year, despite attempting 14 shots per match, above the league average of 12.8. The Revs' 4.5 per cent conversion rate is the worst in MLS, with every other team scoring with at least 7 per cent of their shots this year.

    Chancalay has been one of the Revs' worst offenders, failing to score a single goal from a team-high tally of 22 shots this year, totalling 2.31 expected goals (xG). He has also missed a team-high four big chances this campaign, as defined by Opta.

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New England Revolution – 54.2%

    Inter Miami – 20.4%

    Draw – 25.4%

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