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WINNING PASS: Louis Vuitton has its eye on the ball by designing the travel case for the 2023 Ballon d’Or trophy awarded to the year’s best soccer players.

The French luxury house revealed Thursday it had designed trunks for the soccer ball-shaped trophies, in partnership with weekly soccer magazine France Football and with the support of its publisher’s advertising division Amaury Media.

Given out since 1956 for men and 2018 for women by the publication, the gold-plated awards crafted by jeweler Mellerio will be presented to the year’s best female and male soccer players, chosen by a panel of 100 journalists from around the world, at a ceremony in Paris on Monday.

Past recipients include Megan Rapinoe, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Between 2008 and 2017, the two men, who faced off at chess over a checkerboard canvas of a Louis Vuitton Damier attaché case in a 2022 advert for the French house, claimed every Ballon d’Or between them.

Favorites for the Ballon d’Or this year include the Argentinian star Kylian Mbappé, France’s national team captain who is currently at the Paris Saint-Germain club.

Other gongs handed out at the yearly ceremony include best young player, top goalkeeper as well as three prizes for the striker, and men’s and women’s clubs of the year. The Sócrates Trophy was added last year to recognize players involved in social and charitable projects.

Crafted in the historical Louis Vuitton ateliers in Asnières, the trunks that will house the Ballon d’Or trophies come in the house’s signature monogram canvas, and the V motif on the outside is painted in gold, in a first for its trophy trunk designs.

According to the French luxury house, these latest trunks are “further proof that ‘Victory Travels in Vuitton’ and another landmark in [its] continuing history of creating bespoke travel cases for the world’s most iconic trophies,” which have included the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix, the NBA, America’s Cup, the FIFA World Cup, the Roland-Garros tennis tournament and even the esport “League of Legends” World Championship.

On Sunday, either South Africa or New Zealand will walk away from the Rugby World Cup France 2023 with the Webb Ellis Cup, the sport’s greatest prize, housed in another bespoke trunk lined in blue with a blue, white and red V on the front to recall the tournament’s logo and the French flag.

With the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris coming up, the brand has been burnishing its connection to sports, revealing on Monday its return as title partner of the America’s Cup, sailing’s biggest and most prestigious race.

It also signed a clutch of high-profile athletes as ambassadors, including French champion swimmer Léon Marchand and fencing champion Enzo Lefort, who are also sponsored by parent group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a premium partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.