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The two individual awards will cease to exist as two separate entities...

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has revealed in a press conference in Johannesburg that the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or will cease to exist as two separate entities and will merge into one individual trophy.

The Ballon d'Or was created in 1956 by French magazine France Football from a poll of international journalists. Initially, only European players could scoop up the award, but it was later opened to players of any nationality. Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi was the latest winner of the award in 2009.

The FIFA World Player of the Year award was created in 1991 and it's voted for by national team coaches and captains. Messi was voted FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The first FIFA Ballon d'Or will be presented on January 10 in Zurich, Switzerland. The jury that will vote the winner of the award will consist of a combination of specialised journalists and national team coaches and captains.

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