Leaked documents making rounds on social media suggest that Lionel Messi is the winner of next week’s Ballon d’Or gala, as reported by Goal.com.
The shocking revelation set social media on fire as Lionel Messi’s name allegedly appeared on FIFA's website in an official-looking document. The news came from a tweet from Dutch journalist Michael Abbink, who works for NU Sport. In the tweet, Abbink seemed to have discovered a press release by FIFA declaring Leo the winner of Ballon d’Or and Germany’s Celia Sasic as the winner of the Women’s World Player of the Year award.
Check out the tweet below:
Oei, dit stond zojuist op de website van de FIFA. MESSI GOUDEN BAL-WINNAAR pic.twitter.com/sq1pSheaVB— Michel Abbink (@sportzeloot) January 6, 2016
The leaked announcement was first posted by Voetbal Primeur, who claimed that it was leaked from European Sports Media, a company that regularly organizes award ceremonies.
Upon noticing the mistake, ESM deleted the image from their website and released a statement that read:
"Due to a technical problem at transmission, Lionel Messi and Celia Sasic were listed as FIFA Ballon d'Or winners 2015.’’
Here is the full message:
"Actually, they (Messi and Sasic) won the awards UEFA Best Player in Europe 2015 resp. UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe 2015. We apologize for this mistake."
FIFA also distanced itself from the leaked document and claimed that it was a recap of an article from November last year. The world football governing body also added that the winner of the 2015 Ballon d’Or will be officially announced on January 11, 2016.
Regardless of the apology from ESM and clarification by FIFA, the leaked document had already created a storm on social media:
Messi should be presented with 2 Ballon d'Or awards on Monday. 1 isn't sufficient.— Preciy™ (@BarcaLens) January 6, 2016
Give the Ballon d'Or to Messi already. #HalaMadrid— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrideen) January 6, 2016
FIFA leaking that the Ballon d'Or winner is Lionel Messi is like when your tap leaks and you're surprised water comes out of it.— Ben Wills (@_BenWills) January 6, 2016
Everybody knows Lionel Messi will win the FIFA Ballon D'or but if you don't then you must have been living under the rock— osundeandrew20 (@osundeandrew20) January 6, 2016
apparently messi is the 2016 fifa ballon d'or winner— . (@freestylelord) January 6, 2016
The Argentina and Barcelona forward will win his fifth Ballon d'Or on January 11, 2015 if he floors his rival Cristiano Ronaldo and teammate Neymar Jr.