This week’s listening report takes a look back at the Ballon d’Or 2013 award. This listening report is a shortened version of the regular weekly podcast. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above and you can read the transcript below with key vocabulary explained at the bottom of the post, while there is also a worksheetEusebio here

Ballon d’Or History

The Ballon d’Or (or ‘Golden Ball’) award is presented to the best player in the world each year but when this award first started back in 1956 only European players were eligible to win it. According to the football statistics page at, the competition was started by French football magazine ‘France Football’ who awarded the first ever European Player of the Year trophy to Englishman Stanley Matthews, with the following year’s accolade going to Real Madrid star Alfredo di Stefano. In 1995 a player from anywhere in the world could win the award as long as he was playing in Europe – Liberian George Weah won that year after his fantastic performances for AC Milan. In 2010, the competition combined with FIFA’s World Player of the Year to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or.

2013 Candidates

All national team captains and managers, along with a selection of football journalists, are eligible to vote for their favourite players of the year. They give five points for their first choice, three for their second choice and one for third. These scores are then counted; leaving the top three candidates. This year, Real Madrid’s star forward Ronaldo was up against four-time winner Lionel Messi and European Champions League and Bundesliga winner Franck Ribery. There are a host of other awards as well including best female player, best goal, coach of the year, as well as a fair play award, which this year went to the Afghanistan Football Association.

The Winners

Cristiano Ronaldo won his second Ballon d’Or trophy by more than 100 points from Leo Messi despite not winning any major trophies with his side Real Madrid. He did however help his country Portugal to the World Cup finals and scored a remarkable 66 goals in 56 matches during 2013. The best female player award went to German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer who helped her country win the European Championship with two penalty saves in the final. Another German, Jupp Heynckes, won the award for best coach after guiding Bayern Munich to a treble: The Cup, the League and the Champions League. The best goal of the year went to PSG forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic for an outrageously good goal for Sweden against England in a game he also notched four goals.

Related Links

Football vocabulary and phrases used in this week’s listening report

  • were eligible to: Were allowed to
  • accolade:  award
  • candidates: Best choices
  • was up against: In competition with
  • a host of: A selection of
  • an outrageously good goal: A really good goal; spectacular
  • notched four goals: He scored four times
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2013-14Episode 20