The COVID-19 pandemic saw France Football cancel the 2020 edition of the Ballon d'Or, but instead the magazine has elected to select a number of historic award winners, including the best referee of all-time prize, which has gone to Pierluigi Collina.
Wednesday saw the 10 best referees named, and the Italian topped the standings after a career where he was so authoritative and so good at his job that his fame went beyond what is expected of a mere official.
"When it comes to referees, his is the first name that comes to mind, right from his debut to 1977 until his retirement in 2005, Collina wrote the history of football," France Football editorial explained.
You have to ask which other referee has ever made the front cover of a football video game as Collina did with Pro Evolution Soccer 3 released in 2003. That itself is a testament to his popularity and skill.