Top 7 Players to Win the Most Golden Balls in History
The Ballon d’Or is one of the most prestigious awards a player can win. It is bestowed upon an individual who performs exceptionally in a calendar year, as voted by journalists from France football. This distinguished honor has been bestowed upon some of the greatest players in football history. Winning it even once is a significant achievement, while multiple wins are a testament to greatness. To be eligible, a player must be among the best in the world, with the award previously limited to European players and those playing on the continent. However, as of 2007, all players worldwide are eligible for consideration. Here are those who have received the most Golden Balls in the history of football.
Players to Win the Most Golden Balls in History
#1 Lionel Messi
Did you know that Lionel Messi is the player with the most Ballon d’Or awards in history? He earned this prestigious award seven times – in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, and 2021. Messi’s impressive record may never be surpassed, thanks to his exceptional skill and sustained success at the highest level of soccer. All of his Ballon d’Or wins were earned during his time with FC Barcelona, as he is yet to win one while playing for Paris Saint-Germain.
#2 Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo, the star of Real Madrid (now Juventus) and Portugal’s national football team was awarded the Golden Ball trophy in 2017. This win brought his Golden Ball collection to 5, matching Lionel Messi’s achievements. Ronaldo is known as the greatest player in Portuguese football history and is the highest goal-scorer for Real Madrid Club. He helped his team win the La Liga championship, and Champions League twice (2014 and 2016), and was runner-up in the 2004 UEFA Champions League. His impressive 2016 performance in the Euro championship further solidified his place as a living legend. Prior to joining Real Madrid, Ronaldo contributed to Manchester United’s success with a Premier League title and Champions League victory.
#3 Marco van Basten
Discover the impressive career of Marco van Basten, one of only five players to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award three or more times. The Dutch football legend triumphantly claimed the title in 1988, 1989, and 1992. He also achieved victory with the Dutch national team by securing the UEFA Euro trophy and triumphed twice in the Champions League with AC Milan.
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#4 Michel Platini
Discover the breathtaking achievements of Michel Platini, the French football icon who made history by winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or award three times in a row, in 1983, 1984, and 1985. As one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, Platini achieved even more feats, from leading France to victory in one UEFA Euro tournament to clinching a UCL title and two Serie A league titles with Juventus. To top it off, he also served as the President of UEFA until 2015. Come and immerse yourself in the legacy of this legendary football hero.
#5 Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff is a respected figure in the football world for promoting the “Total Football” philosophy which revolutionized the sport and still influences it today. The Dutch icon achieved great success, winning the European club trophy three times with Ajax, the Dutch Eredivisie nine times, and the Spanish La Liga once with FC Barcelona. His talent was duly recognized with three Ballon d’Or awards in 1971, 1973, and 1974.
#6 Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer, known as the “Emperor,” was a legendary figure in German and world football. He pioneered the Libero position in modern football and remains one of only two people in history to have won the World Cup both as a player and a coach.
Throughout his career, Beckenbauer’s impact on the sport was significant. He helped Bayern Munchen Club secure four Bundesliga Silver Discs, won the Euro championships three times, and helped Hamburger SV secure a Silver Disc in 1982.
Beckenbauer was also the captain of the West German team that won the 1972 Euro championship and the 1974 World Cup. As a coach, he led the German national football team to victory in the 1990 World Cup. His talent and influence on football have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.
#7 Alfredo Di Stefano
Alfredo Di Stefano considered one of Spain’s deadliest forwards, passed away in 2014. A football legend, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or in both 1957 and 1959. Di Stefano was a key player in Real Madrid’s five UCL victories and also helped secure the Spanish league title eight times with the club. Moreover, he earned the golden boot five times in La Liga.
The Ballon d’Or is one of the most sought-after accolades in football. It pays tribute to those who have achieved greatness over a sustained period of time and honors their achievements. The seven players mentioned above are some of the greatest in history, having made an immense impact on the game.