Actor at Fifa’s Ballon d’Or award in Zurich where Messi makes football history
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Gérard Dépardieu, who has been in the headlines for the past week for taking up Russian citizenship and making dramatic noises about his French passport while badmouthing its new, higher tax on the rich, played a new, football role in Switzerland Monday evening.
The renowned actor took part in Fifa’s Ballon d’Or award in Zurich 8 January, where he uncustomarily played only a supporting role as the spotlight was on Lionel Messi, who made football history when he was named the world’s best male player for a fourth consecutive year.
Fifa (world football federation) head Sepp Blatter is widely considered to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who pushed the successful Russian bid to host the World Cup games in 2018.
The Fifa award is given each year to the best male and female players, elected by the coaches and captains of the national teams of the 209 Fifa member associations and a selected group of media. Messi came in ahead of runners-up Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.
The 25-year-old Messi, from Argentina, who plays for Barcelona, said his mind went blank when the winner was announced; he dedicated the trophy win to his family.
Dépardieu not leaving France for tax reasons: likely to now have French, Belgian and Russian citizenship
Turkish Daily Huriyet reports that “Dépardieu on Sunday visited Mordovia’s capital of Saransk, where he was greeted by folk dancers and traditional blini pancakes and the governor suggested that the Oscar-nominated star might set up home in the region best known for its network of prison camps.”
The actor nevertheless told Reuters after arriving in Switzerland Sunday night that he has no intention of giving up his French passport, and that if he had intended to do so for tax reasons he would have done so long ago. The new government of Francois Hollande wanted to introduce a 75 percent tax on earnings of over one million euros but a high court has ruled against it and a revised version of a higher tax rate has not yet been proposed.
He recently bought property over the border in Belgium, and has said he may seek to become a Belgian citizen.