30 Images From The Absurd Ceremony FIFA Throws To Give Out Its Annual Awards

fifa ballon d'or ceremony lionel messi

Photo: Fox Soccer

In one of the many traditions that makes European soccer more grandiose than American sports, FIFA held its annual gala to present the Ballon d’Or in Switzerland today.The Ballon d’Or is like the MVP award.

Instead of simply holding a press conference to announce the winners, FIFA throws a big ceremony involving dancing, singing, mascots, and the inexplicable presence of small children.

It’s oddly compelling, and we were pretty impressed, even if Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t.

The ceremony took place in Zurich, where FIFA is based. The venue was smaller than your typical awards show

Here's our host, Kay Murray. She's English

The three women vying for the top award were (from left to right) Marta of Brazil, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach of the US. They had to sit together

So did the men's contenders (L to R): Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta, and Lionel Messi, who wore an awesome polka-dot suit

The ceremony began with a lengthy speech by FIFA president Sepp Blatter. And boy, the crowd was not into it

Morgan and Wambach did not look intrigued

Nor did this guy

Former US women's coach Pia Sundhage did her best to stay interested

Spain's Iker Casillas did not

But THEN the energy went through the roof when tribal dancers performed. Yes, tribal dancers

It was ... outside the box for a black-tie gala

The weirdness continued when Ronaldo, who just lost 30 pounds on a Brazilian reality show, showed up

He kissed an armadillo mascot, who will be a big part of the World Cup in 2014

After that we got down to the awards. FIFA presented the 11 best players in the world at their respective positions, and inexplicably had a little kid come out with them

Here's who made the cut. All 11 players play professionally in the Spanish La Liga, and seven are on the Spanish national team

Cristiano Ronaldo made the team picture a bit awkward

After that Sundhage won the award for women's coach of the year

Morgan and Wambach were pleased

Then Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque won men's coach of the year, and his doppelganger presented him with the award

So time for the big awards, right? Nope, singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald came out and performed

It got very American Idol

Almost 90 minutes after the ceremony began, it was time for the big awards. A lovely looking Hope Solo presented the award for female player of the year

Her teammate Abby Wambach won, and feigned surprise

Abby, Hope, and Sepp had an awkward handshake

Morgan and Marta looked a little bummed during the acceptance speech

Then came the big award. The winner was...

Messi! In his polka-dot suit. It was a record-setting fourth Ballon d'Or for him, and he's only 25

Iniesta, his teammate, was pleased

Ronaldo was not impressed, which was the perfect way to end the evening

Now see what kind of coin these guys make

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