Ballon d'Or 2015 Award Ceremony: As It Will Happen (Maybe)
On Monday evening, football fans all over the world will focus their attention on an event that is only tangentially related to the joyous act of watching world class football: the 2015 Ballon d'Or ceremony.
As the upper echelons of the beautiful game prepare to pat themselves on the back for a few hours, here's our tongue-in-cheek prediction for how the evening will unfold. Take a look and let us know what you think will happen with a comment!
5 p.m. GMT
The excitement begins as the greatest stars in football start arriving on the red carpet! There hasn't been this much nervous energy in the air in Zurich since the most recent round of FIFA indictments!
Lionel Messi, who is physically unable to wear a plain black dinner jacket to an awards ceremony, has a special sartorial trick up his sleeve. Well, on his sleeves, technically.
Keen to improve on previous years, Messi calls in a favour with Robbie Fowler and borrows his original 1996 FA Cup Final "Spice Boys" suit (he originally asked to borrow Neil Ruddock's but decided to let his children use the jacket as a tent instead).
It looks just as glorious as it did 20 years ago.
Cristiano Ronaldo comes in just behind Messi—a theme he is going to need to get used to as the night progresses.
He is wearing a sharp black suit, but there appear to be tear stains on the lapels. Either he was watching The Notebook on the flight over, or he is fearing the worst for the award ceremony that matters the most to him.
Gigi Buffon, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Busquets all show up on the red carpet, looking forward to the evening's festivities.
But, in a shocking turn of events, the legendary goalkeeper who nearly won the treble with high-flying Juve, the best player on Europe's second-best team and the beating heart of Barcelona's treble-winning side are each ushered back into their limos and sent on their way.
Everyone has a long, hard look at themselves and wonders why none of those three players even made in onto the 23-man shortlist.
Meanwhile, David Ospina quietly sneaks past the cameras in case someone notices that he made it onto UEFA's 40-man shortlist ahead of Buffon.
This is it! The Ballon d'Or ceremony has started! Hosts Kate Abdo and James Nesbitt (wait, what?) take to the stage with cue cards in hand!
We're going to know who won the biggest individual prize on football imminently...right after an hour-and-a-half of inane banter, pointless music performances and decades-old highlight reels.
Literally, there will be an hour-and-a-half of nonsense.
It looks set to be the most frustratingly dull 90 minutes since Manchester United's last game.
As FIFA's official ventriloquist act makes way for an interpretative dance themed around Paul Pogba's hair, Yaya Toure starts furiously tweeting.
He blasts the organisers for failing to place him in the shortlist, arguing that it is an embarrassing indictment of world football that he has not been considered. Twitter almost crashes under the sheer weight of birthday cake emojis that are sent his way.
He then reminds us that he is a big deal and people know him. He has many leather-bound books, and his apartment smells of rich mahogany, he says.
Toure's agent then releases a statement saying Lionel Messi isn't even good enough for a Sunday pub side.
Luis Enrique wins Male Coach of the Year.
Guest presenter Ruud Gullit has a Steve Harvey moment when he accidentally announces Pep Guardiola's name. Zlatan Ibrahimovic punches a hole in the wall before Gullit can correct himself.
The camera picks out a familiar man sitting near the middle of the auditorium. He appears to be an elderly gentleman wearing a fedora hat, an obviously false moustache and a plaster on his face.
His name tag reads "Guy Incognito."
Guest presenter Lee Cattermole hands out the FIFA Fair Play Award.
The winner, by a landslide public vote, is US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The gentleman in the fedora hat sinks slightly lower into his seat.
The FIFPro World XI is announced.
Giorgio Chiellini and Diego Godin, watching from their limos as they circle the building, scratch their heads as Sergio Ramos and Titus Bramble make it into the squad ahead of them.
Gareth Bale makes the team but is furious that he's been placed out on the wing. The transfer rumours start firing up.
After a lengthy video tribute to Jack Grealish's shin pads and a lengthy interview with Eastleigh's groundsman, World Cup hero Carli Lloyd is revealed as the Women's World Player of the Year.
The FIFA executive presenting her with the award asks her which country she is from, which position she plays, what her husband does to support her and if she is having a lovely time.
Roma's Alessandro Florenzi clinches the FIFA Puskas Award for his sensational strike against Barcelona in September.
Sadly, the show is running long, so it cannot invite Florenzi onto the stage or show his goal. The show quickly cuts to a five-minute film of a dog that can bark the Champions League anthem.
The moment has finally arrived! The 2015 Ballon d'Or winner is announced...right after a 14th and final recap of the three shortlisted players. Just in case we've forgotten who they are.
Messi wins! The little fella looks delighted as he walks up on stage in his ill-fitting suit, counting down the seconds until he is allowed to go home again and finish off Making a Murderer.
Neymar barely notices the announcement as he is busy browsing Instagram for attractive models to join his #squad.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, claps and smiles through gritted teeth. He briefly considers the idea of stopping his fascination with individual glory by placing more importance on winning trophies for his team. He quickly decides this is silly and glances over at Jorge Mendes with an "I need a cuddle" look.
It's all over. The audience slowly leaves the auditorium, with the vast majority wondering why they missed a day of training to sit in a dark room and praise the players who win the same awards every year.
On Twitter, fans argue deep into the night about who should have won, who was snubbed and why everyone wasted two hours of their lives watching a process that could last a matter of seconds.
As the venue clears out, a lone figure remains in his seat. It's the man in the fedora, who gets up, screws up his programme, narrows his eyes and quietly mutters: "You haven't seen the last of me!" He breaks into an evil cackle, and the whole scene looks like the end of a movie that's teeing up a sequel.
However, no one is there, and no one cares, so the old man goes home and has a little cry.