The Ballon d’Or rolls on Facebook

In soccer, there is a correlation between popularity and prizes, as we can see in an analysis by Facebook that shows Cristiano Ronaldo as the winner of the Ballon d’Or that FIFA awards annually to the world’s best player. The Portuguese was picked by more than 80 percent of Facebook users in his homeland, whereas he lost to his great rival, Lionel Messi, among the Argentines connected to the social network. But in general, the consensus corresponds to reality, i.e., the favored candidates are usually the winners. Curiously, English bookies prove reliable beyond the soccer field. The Nobel Prize in Literature, which not seldom puzzles the readers’ community when it goes to little known writers, also follows a logic these bookies apparently understand: the name of Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarussian journalist who got it, was among the top ranked candidates, which included famous authors such as Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth, and Joyce Carol Oates. Even injustice must have its own mysterious rules, as these English bookies know: Borges once quipped, perhaps with some disappointment, that a “Swedish prize” did not deprive him of sleep.

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