Ballon d’Or voters will now pick five players, and can take into account the career of players such as Gianluigi Buffon.
France Football magazine yesterday announced the 30-man shortlist for the award, with several Serie A stars nominated.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the heavy favourite for the award, having won La Liga and the Champions League with Real Madrid last season.
The Champions League final was seen as being potentially decisive for the award, with Buffon also in contention.
Journalists must give their nominations based on individual and collective performance, the class of the player and the career of the player.
However, this year everyone will nominate five players, rather than the three in previous years.
France Football describes the change as “more relevant, coherent and logical”, as it will “extend the scope of possibilities”.
Six points are awarded for a first preference vote, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.
It’s possible this change could benefit Buffon, as fewer journalists would have to pick the legendary goalkeeper above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
His lengthy career can also be considered, and France Football was effusive in its praise of the Italy captain when announcing his nomination.
“An example for all footballers,” the description of Buffon begins.
“At 39 he’s at a level which makes him always one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Efficiency on the pitch, sure, but also a certain class that we’ll miss as soon as Buffon stops.”