What is the Ballon d’Or trophy worth? Price, weight, materials, prize money
The outstanding players in the 2021/22 men’s and women’s soccer seasons are to be honoured at the Ballon d’Or gala in Paris on Monday.
Several changes have been made to the Ballon d’Or award process this year. Most notably, the jury of journalists has now been instructed to take into account players’ performances in the 2021/22 season, rather than the 2022 calendar year. What’s more, the number of jurors has been significantly reduced, and the criteria they must consider no longer includes a candidate’s achievements throughout their entire career.
However, one thing that award organisers France Football have not overhauled is the trophy itself.
Ballon d’Or: dimensions, value
In its current guise, the Ballon d’Or trophy - which, as its French name suggests, takes the form of a golden football - is widely reported to be worth somewhere in the region of €3,000 ($2,920). Including its pyrite base, the award measures 31 cm in height and 23 cm in diameter, and weighs just over 7 kg. Made with two brass plates that are soldered together to create the shape of a ball, the trophy is filled with a wax-like material and, on the outside, is bathed in gold.
Ballon d’Or trophy’s former guise
The Women’s Ballon d’Or, which was introduced only four years ago - with Lyon and Norway’s Ada Hegerberg its inaugural winner - has always used this version of the trophy. That’s not the case when it comes to the longer-running men’s prize, though. Handed out yearly since 1956, its first recipient was Blackpool and England’s Stanley Matthews, who was given a rather smaller, more modest-looking gong:
The initial Men’s Ballon d’Or trophy seems to have remained essentially unchanged until 1983, when France and Juventus’ Michele Platini was presented with a redesigned, larger accolade. Barring the odd superficial detail, the trophy Platini picked up 39 years ago - and again in 1984 and 1985 - is more or less identical to the award that’s given out today.
How much prize money do Ballon d’Or winners get?
It doesn’t appear that there is any prize money directly associated with the Ballon d’Or. However, its recipients do tend to pocket bonus cheques agreed as part of their contracts with clubs and sponsors. For example, the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial has reported that Real Madrid’s Luka Modric was paid €800,000 ($780,000) by boot sponsors Nike when he claimed the men’s award in 2018.
The following year, German magazine Der Spiegel published details of Cristiano Ronaldo’s deal with the US sportswear giant. Per the leaked contract, the Portugal captain, who is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, had negotiated a €4m ($3.9m) bonus for scooping the gong.
In 2021, meanwhile, it was claimed that Karim Benzema, who is the overwhelming favourite to win the men’s Ballon d’Or this year, has a bonus clause in his Real Madrid contract worth €2m ($1.95m). And in June, the Spanish radio station Cadena SER revealed that Benzema’s club-mate Vinícius Júnior is set to have the incentive of a €1m ($975,000) Ballon d’Or payment in his next Madrid agreement.
Ballon d’Or gala 2022: when, where, what awards will be presented?
The 2022 Ballon d’Or gala is to be held at Paris’ Théatre du Châtelet on Monday 17 October 2022, with the ceremony itself scheduled to get underway at 8:30pm CEST/2:30pm ET. However, France Football will begin counting down the final award rankings from 4:30pm CEST/10:30am ET, and the gala attendees will start arriving on the red carpet at 7:50pm CEST/1:50pm ET.
While Benzema is the chief candidate for the men’s prize, Barcelona and Spain’s Alexia Putellas is being heavily tipped to receive the Women’s Ballon d’Or for the second year in a row.
In addition to the two headline awards, the Ballon d’Or gala will also witness the presentation of: the Kopa Trophy, for the outstanding under-21 men’s player; the Yashin Trophy, for the best men’s goalkeeper; the Müller Trophy, for the top-performing men’s striker; and the Socrates Award, which France Football says “will identify the best solidarity actions carried out by committed champions”.
How to watch the Ballon d’Or gala
Wherever you are in the world, you’ll be able to stream the ceremony live on L’Équipe’s YouTube channel and website. You’ll also have the option of following AS USA’s live-text coverage of the event. More information on how to watch the Ballon d’Or gala.