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FIFA president confirms change...

The FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or awards are to be combined to make one trophy to recognise the finest footballer in the sport, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has revealed.

Blatter announced the change on Monday after the game's governing body and France Football, who founded the original Ballon d'Or award ('Golden Ball') - agreed to join forces. A single accolade - set to be named the FIFA Ballon d’Or - will be handed to the first recipient of the prize on January 10, 2011 in a ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland.

Speaking to reporters in South Africa, the 74-year-old said: “The winner is football because as of January of next year we will have one single trophy for the best player in the world and this will be the Golden Ball.”

A FIFA statement later confirmed, "the winner will be chosen by the coaches and captains from the national teams, as well as by the media."

The Ballon d'Or has been awarded since 1956, with FIFA following suit in 1991. Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi currently holds both titles after stellar performances in 2009.

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