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James Nesbitt gets snap-happy for Messi and Ronaldo at Ballon d'Or ceremony

By Colin O'Carroll

Actor James Nesbitt has cheekily managed to get around a ban on asking for autographs at the Ballon d'Or World Footballer of the Year awards by taking a series of selfies with players like Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Lionel Messi.

The football fanatic was asked to host the ceremony held in Zurich yesterday and jumped at the chance.

FIFA announced in December that the Coleraine actor would co-host the event with Sky Sports News presenter Kate Abdo.

The Manchester United and Northern Ireland supporter admitted he was surprised to be asked to compere the show.

He said: "I keep thinking I'm going to go out there and they'll say 'Oh no, we didn't mean you!'.

"But I am a huge fan and this is an opportunity for the best footballers of the world to be gathered together, to celebrate them and the purity of football, which is why so many of us are enthralled by it."

James Nesbitt grabs a selfie with Lionel Messi

Nesbitt proved his football fanaticism credentials by taking selfies with several big-name players - circumventing the autographs ban.

However, he did come in for some stick from viewers over his hairline.

He carried a fuller 'do' just a week after sporting much shorter locks for an appearance on the Graham Norton show.

Social media users were quick to comment on the new look, with one posting: "James Nesbitt should have won for worst special effects for his hair."

Another tweeter said: "James Nesbitt, one can only assume he is wearing the hair for a laugh. Dear men who go bald, just shave it off."

Nesbitt has previously spoken openly of his fear that baldness would affect his career.

Messi took the Ballon d'Or for a record fifth time.

Sport, Page 48

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