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Two awards for world's best player are to merge

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi won both awards in 2009

The two awards handed out for the world's best footballer are to merge.

Lionel Messi was chosen as the 2009 winner of both the Ballon d'Or and Fifa World Player of the Year awards.

In recent years the same player has won both awards with 2004 being the last time two different players were chosen - Ronaldinho and Andriy Shevchenko.

From January, only one award will be handed out although the new title will still be known as the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball).

The agreement was announced on Monday by Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Marie-Odile Amaury, publisher of France Football magazine, which conceived the idea of the Ballon d'Or in 1956.

The judges for the Ballon d'Or have always been journalists while the Fifa World Player of the Year awards, which began in 1991, are chosen by coaches and international team captains, and the judging system is based on a complicated points system.

It is not clear how the new judging system will work.

But Blatter said: "From January of next year we will have one single trophy for the best player in the world."

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see also
Messi wins Fifa best player award
21 Dec 09 |  Football
Lionel Messi's 2009 in photos
21 Dec 09 |  Europe
Messi named top European player
01 Dec 09 |  Europe
Barcelona 1-0 Real Madrid
29 Nov 09 |  Europe
Ronaldo named Fifa player of 2008
12 Jan 09 |  Football
Kaka wins Fifa world player crown
17 Dec 07 |  Football

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