User Stories

The Ballon d’Or network

January 26, 2015

Cristiano Ronald has received the Ballon d’Or. Did he deserve it? We wanted to explore who voted for who through graph visualization.

Like each year, FIFA awarded the Ballon d’Or to the best football player. For the third time, Cristiano Ronaldo received that prestigious prize.

National team captains, coaches and journalists select three players for the first, second and third places. The selected players are then ranked according to the votes they have received. The FIFA made the vote data available online. It can be downloaded thanks to the work of Krist Wongsuphasawat, a datavisualization expert and a football fan.

The Ballon d’Or voting data can be turned into a graph. This is helpful to visualize who voted for whom.

We have created a small script to import the Ballon d’Or data into a Neo4j graph.

The result is a graph of 776 nodes and 2 720 edges. In the graph a player is connected to his country, his category (team captain, coach or journalist) and the players he has voted for or received votes from. Downwload the 2014 Ballon d’Or network.


With Linkurious, we can search for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and then see who voted for them.

who voted for messi and ronaldo

Each node is a voter, each edge is a vote. The nodes with the most edges are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The nodes between Messi and Ronaldo represent an overlap, the voters who selected Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo among their top three choices.

There are also people who chose either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi among their top three choices but not both. For them, who else deserved the 2014 Ballon d’Or?


Upon closer examination, we can see that Di Maria, Mascherano and Iniesta are the top choices. To view view the details of the votes, download the data to explore the Ballon d’Or network!

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