Ballon d’Or organisers introduce goalkeeper award

PARIS (AFP) – A Ballon d’Or award for goalkeepers will be handed out for the first time this year, the organisers, France Football magazine, announced on Thursday.

The Yashin Trophy will be named after the Soviet international, Lev Yashin, the only goalkeeper to have won the Ballon d’Or itself.

The Ballon d’Or for best male player was first awarded in 1956, to Stanley Matthews. It is voted on by journalists. Last year, an award for best female player was added. It was won by Norway’s Ada Hegerberg.

A shortlist for the prizes in the three categories will be announced on October 21.

This year’s winners will be revealed in a ceremony on December 2.

The Ballon d’Or also served as the FIFA player of the year award from 2010-15 but was then replaced by the governing body’s The Best awards in 2016.

A Moscow native who played 21 seasons with local outfit Dynamo, Yashin won the Ballon d’Or in 1963 and was revered in his day as the world’s finest ‘keeper.

With the Soviet team he was in goal at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 for a 1-0 win over Yugoslavia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Starting out as a hockey goaltender Yashin helped the Soviets to their greatest victory in 1960, winning the inaugural European Championship 2-1 after extra-time.