Top 10 Greatest Ballon D’Or Winners Of All-time
Ballon d’Or is a yearly football award presented by the French news magazine France Football. The award came into existence in 1956. Between 2010 and 2015, in an agreement with FIFA, the award was temporarily merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year and known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
The Ballon d’Or or Golden Ball award as the case may be is considered the most prestigious individual award in football.
Since the establishment of the award in 1956, a footballer who stands head and shoulder above the others each year gets this award. It’s an accolade that every professional player across the world dreams to own at least once in their career.
However, we have shortlisted the top 10 greatest Ballon d’Or winners on the basis of the number of times they have won the Golden ball
Ronaldo – 2
The former Brazilian international Ronaldo Nazario has won the Ballon d’Or award twice in his career. The first time he ever clinched on the was in 1997 when he was at Barcelona and the other at Real Madrid in 2002.
Ronaldo, being the Brazilian notable legend, got his hands on this award for the first time at an early age of 21, becoming the youngest Ballon d’Or winner in football’s history. This is presenting the fact that he had scored a staggering amount of goals which was 47 in 49 matches – during his time with Barcelona. Talking about his second award, which he won in 2002 award, it was Ronaldo’s heroics at the world cup that led Brazil to a historic win. The former Brazilian international also won the Golden Boot with eight goals in the tournament.
As a matter of fact, in his entire professional career, the Fenomeno scored 352 club goals while bagging 62 in 98 games for his country.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – 2
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is a German football legend who also made history as he won the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 1980 and 1981.
Rummenigge, who has been tipped as one of the greatest German footballers to grace the game, had quite the career.
According to statistics, in Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s first few years at Bayern Munich, he was still playing second fiddle to Gerd Müller until 1978 when the mantle was passed to him.
However, Winning the Ballon d’Or on consecutive occasions cemented his name as the best footballer of that time. The seasons that he make name for himself was in the 79/80 and 80/81 season, where his aura helped Bayern Munich become German Champions, thanks to his 26 and 29 goals respectively. Karl-Heinz also then won the European Cup in 1980 as well.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge figures at Bayern were nothing less than special. This is because, from the 1979/80 season, until he moved to Inter Milan, Rummenigge was involved in 199 goals in 224 appearances.
Alfredo Di Stefano – 2
The former Spanish international and legend Alfredo Di Stefano won the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 1957 and 1959.
The Saeta Rubia scored 19 goals in the 1957/58 season to help Real Madrid win La Liga. Alfredo Di Stefano was an agile, skillful, and prolific forward who had great stamina to make him a perfect finisher for the Spanish juggernauts.
History however has it that Di Stefano currently, is the sixth highest goal scorer in La Liga and third highest in Real Madrid’s history, scoring 216 in 282 games. Not to forget that he is Madrid’s leading goal scorer in the history of El Clásico.
According to statistics, in 1989, Di Stefano became the only footballer to be awarded the Super Ballon d’Or as the France Football honored his career. As a matter of fact, Stefano had beaten Cruyff and Platini in the final vote.
Kevin Keegan – 2
The former English international Kevin Keegan is also in the list of the greatest players to ever won the Ballon d’Or consecutively in 1978 and 1979.
Kevin Keegan’s stellar performances in Germany earned him his first Golden ball. The English player scored 17 goals to take Hamburg to the Bundesliga title triumph in the 1978/79 season. It was Yugoslavian manager Branko Zebec’s appointment as the team’s manager that brought the best out of Keegan.
Football history has however proven the fact that he then became the first English footballer to win the award since Bobby Charlton in 1966.
The determination is one of the things that helped the Englishman bag his second successive Ballon d’Or award, becoming just the fourth player to have won the trophy more than once, by 1979. The Turin club Juventus then went after him, but Keegan chose England over Italy considering his family’s ease. But he signed up with Southampton instead.
Franz Beckenbauer – 2
Franz Beckenbauer is a German former professional footballer who was the first defender to win the Ballon d’Or and the only defender to win it twice (1972 and 1976).
His statistics have it that bagged the award in 1972 and 1976. Franz Beckenbauer’s skills as a terrific defender propelled Bayern Munich to win three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976. For his country, he was also part of the team that won the 1974 FIFA World Cup and 1972 UEFA European Championship.
Still in 1990, Franz Beckenbauer won Germany another world cup, but this time as a manager.
Marco van Basten – 3
Marco van Basten won the Ballon d’Or on three occasions – in 1988, 1989 and 1992.
Johan Cruyff – 3
Johan Cruyff was the first Dutch footballer to have won three Ballon d’Ors (1971, 1973 and 1974).
Michel Platini – 3
Michel Platini claimed three Ballon d’Or awards in a row from 1983 to 1985 (1983, 1984 and 1985).
Cristiano Ronaldo – 5
Cristiano Ronaldo is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017).
The Portuguese star has been a force to reckon with since joining Manchester United in 2008 after being scouted by none other than Sir Alex Ferguson. Cristiano Ronaldo’s tenure from 2013 to 2017 was astonishing as he won four Ballon d’Or awards in just five years.
Lionel Messi – 7
Lionel Messi has so far won seven Ballon d’Or awards (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021).
The 34-year-old Argentine won his first Golden ball in the 2008-09 season after he was top scorer and a driving force behind the Blaugrana’s continental treble wins.
Statistics have it that Messi won the French award on three occasions in quick succession. Lionel Messi won it in the 2011-12 season, he scored 73 in 60 games in 2011-12 and again helped his side win the Champion League.
From the List Of Top 10 Greatest Ballon D’Or Winners Of All-time, we’ve seen that it’s two players who have been noted as the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi won the title for another record-breaking seventh time in 2021, after receiving it at the previous ceremony in 2019. While Cristiano Ronaldo on the other hand sits in second place with five trophies to his name.