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Your host for tonight... Here are our favourite sports awards presenters

Middlesbrough-born Kay Murray heads up a list which includes Kevin Spacey, Darragh Maloney and Sue Barker.

Ballon d’Or Gala hosts Ruud Gullit and Kay Murray. Credit: Fifa.com

ANYONE WHO WATCHED footage of last night’s Ballon d’Or awards, will have seen Ruud Gullit present the gala with the talented and stunning Kay Murray.

We’ve been following the career of the English TV anchor on Twitter for awhile now, but for those who were introduced to her for the first time, let us fill you in:

Murray (far right) at the Ballon d’Or ‘after-afterparty’ with some football greats Credit: Twitter

Originally from Teesside, Murray began her career on Middlesbrough’s club channel Boro TV after graduating as an NCTJ-trained journalist.

Boro TV was probably one of the best experiences of my working life – the most fun. It was just a fabulous learning ground and a fun place to be,” she told BBC during an interview last year.

A keen believer in holding onto her regional accent, Murray bagged herself a coveted job on Real Madrid TV six years ago and has since had the privilege of interviewing current manager Jose Mourinho as well as a raft of Madrid players past and present.

The 32-year-old has also featured on the likes of Fox Soccer Network and Talksport and hosted a number of awards ceremonies including the 2012 Ballon d’Or.

Watch her highlights on Real Madrid TV from last year here.

In December, however, she announced that she was leaving the channel to take up a position with beIN Sport – a 24-hour international sports network owned by Al Jazeera. It’s probably not a surprise to hear we’ll be tuning in.

Below are some more of our favourite hosts from past sports awards:

Pedro Pinto

Pedro Pinto (left) and Melanie Winiger. Credit: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Fans of The Guardian’s Football Weekly will know Pedro Pinto from his occasional appearances alongside AC Jimbo and the gang. With several languages in his locker, the Portuguese journalist, who earns his bread and butter on CNN International, regularly presents UEFA Champions League draws and has hosted FIFA World Player of the Year in the past.

Kevin Spacey

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

In 2010, the Hollywood star won over the audience in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace with his impressions of Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino and Michael Caine before the highlight of the night – Usain Bolt winning the World Sportsman of the Year.

Watch his intro below:

YouTube credit: LaureusTV

Charlotte Jackson

She is better known as the heiress to Georgie Thompson’s throne on Sky Sports News but Jackson joined Pinto for what turned out to be the final FIFA World Player of the Year ceremony in 2009 (as it was merged with France Football’s Ballon d’Or the following year).

Credit: YouTube screengrab

Darragh Maloney

Maloney and Katie Taylor. Credit: YouTube screengrab

Maloney has worked his way up the ladder at RTE since arriving in 1995 and has become the natural successor to Bill O’Herlihy. He hosted the RTE Sports Awards last month and, although some will remember it for the technical issue which robbed viewers of the climatic moment when Katie Taylor won Sports Person of the Year, should be praised for the casual yet professional manner in which he went about his business and the rapport he struck up with guests on the night.

Clare Balding and Sue Barker

Balding (left) and Barker (right). Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

There’s something about the affable Baker and the excellent Balding which makes them much likeable than their co-host at the 2012 BBC Sports Awards, Gary Lineker. It could be that we’re unable to look past how awful Match of the Day is these days, or maybe we just haven’t forgotten how much we enjoyed coverage of the London Olympics. We’re still not quite sure.

Any others we’ve missed out on?

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About the author:

Ben Blake

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