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Sri Lankan journalist is responsible for the strangest Ballon d'Or votes ever in 2017, 2018 and 2019

Jack Kenmare

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Sri Lankan journalist is responsible for the strangest Ballon d'Or votes ever in 2017, 2018 and 2019

A journalist from Sri Lanka earned himself a reputation for some 'interesting' choices in the Ballon d'Or voting, with some of his previous winners including Leonardo Bonucci and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

On Monday night, Real Madrid and France forward Karim Benzema is expected to take home the most prestigious individual prize in football at this year's Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris.

The French forward, who scored 44 goals in 46 appearances for Los Blancos last season, lifted the La Liga title and Champions League trophy during a magnificent 2021/22 campaign.

So how does the voting system work? In the build-up to Monday's ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet, a journalist from each of the top 100 nations in the FIFA world rankings selects their top five players from a 30-man shortlist.

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The player ranked first on a voter's form receives six points; second is given four; third – three points; fourth – two points; fifth – one point.

If players are tied on overall points, the number of first-place votes will be used as a tie-breaker.

After the ceremony is done and dusted, votes will be made public, meaning every journalist will be analysed for their choices.

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In years gone by, there have been some 'unusual' voting patterns, to say the least. And perhaps the most infamous of them all comes from Sri Lanka.

The Daily News journalist Hafiz Marikar has a wild history when it comes to the Ballon d'Or.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

He kickstarted his run in 2017 with a top five of Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, Radamel Falcao, David de Gea and his winner, Leonardo Bonucci, who reached a Champions League final with Juventus that year.

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A year later, he decided to vote for Eden Hazard as his number one, with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino coming in second ahead of Paul Pogba, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane.

Finally, in 2019, Marikar ended his three-year stint on the Ballon d'Or voting panel with his most outrageous yet. The journalist picked Trent Alexander-Arnold as his winner for 2019.

The Liverpool defender's clever corner-kick against Barcelona in the Champions League was certainly impressive, but was it enough to warrant the coveted prize? He certainly thought so.

Image credit: French Football
Image credit: French Football
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Antoine Griezmann completed his top three, while Robert Lewandowski and Marc-Andre Ter Stegen were his fourth and fifth votes.

France Football recently cut down the journalist list to 100, where previously as many as 176 nations were represented in the vote.

Who do you think should win the Ballon d'Or on Monday?

Let us know in the comments.

Featured Image Credit: France Football/FIFA

Topics: Ballon d'Or, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Leonardo Bonucci, Eden Hazard, Football

Jack Kenmare
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