Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

Ballon d’Or – The Golden Ball

The Ballon d’Or, also known as the Golden Ball, is a prestigious and highly coveted award in the world of football. Since its establishment in 1956, it has recognized the best male and female players, honoring their incredible talents and achievements. Let’s dive into the captivating world of the Ballon d’Or and its legendary winners.

Key Takeaways

  • Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have set new standards of excellence in football, dominating the Ballon d’Or awards.
  • The Ballon d’Or is a prestigious award that recognizes the best male and female players each year.
  • Barcelona and Real Madrid have the most wins, with 12 each, and Lionel Messi holds the record for individual success with seven titles.

The Reign of Messi and Ronaldo

Ronaldo and Messi banners side by side.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have left an unmatched mark in the history of the Ballon d’Or, surpassing countless extraordinary talents. They have won 12 out of the last 13 awards, establishing a fierce rivalry. Messi holds the record for the most Ballon d’Or awards, with a staggering seven wins.

These football icons have shaped the landscape of the sport, setting new standards of excellence for future generations. With only ten players in history winning multiple Ballon d’Or awards, Messi and Ronaldo’s achievements are a testament to their unrivaled skill and dedication.

The Era of Messi and Ronaldo

The consistent outshining of their peers defines the era of Messi and Ronaldo through exceptional performances on the pitch. Their rivalry began in the late 2000s and continues to capture the imagination of football fans worldwide. Messi, currently playing for the MLS team Inter-Miami FC, leads the pack with seven Ballon d’Or awards. Ronaldo, recently moving to the Saudi Arabian football club Al-Nassr, has five to his name.

The lasting effects of the Messi-Ronaldo era are undeniable, as their consistent excellence has raised the bar for footballers everywhere. Their legacy will inspire future generations to strive for greatness and leave an indelible mark on the annals of Ballon d’Or history.

Ballon d’Or: A Prestigious Football Award

2021 Ballon d

The Ballon d’Or, also known as the Golden Ball or Ballon d’or feminin, is awarded annually to the best male and female players in the world. This prestigious award acknowledges their outstanding performances throughout a calendar year. The Ballon d’Or’s history is filled with legendary footballers and unforgettable moments since its inception in 1956.

Karim Benzema, the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, joins an illustrious list of recipients who have etched their names in history. The award has evolved, expanding its scope from European players to recognizing the best footballers globally. It showcases the remarkable skill and dedication of its winners, highlighting the immense talent across the football world.

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Evolution of the Ballon d’Or

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The Ballon d’Or has undergone significant transformations since Gabriel Hanot, a former French footballer and journalist, established it. Initially known as the European Footballer of the Year award, it recognized excellence among European players. In 1995, the award expanded to include players of any origin active at European clubs. By 2007, it became a global prize, opening its doors to all professional footballers worldwide.

From 2010 to 2015, the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year merged. However, this collaboration ended in 2016, and the Ballon d’Or is now presented by France Football, while FIFA’s Best Award replaced the FIFA World Player Award. The FIFA Ballon d’Or stands as a symbol of individual excellence and global recognition for the world’s finest footballers.

Men’s Ballon d’Or Winners Through the Years

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The men’s Ballon d’Or winners list attests to the incredible talent and dedication of the world’s top football players throughout history. From the first winner, Stanley Matthews, in 1956 to Lionel Messi’s record-breaking achievements, the Ballon d’Or has recognized the most exceptional footballers on the planet.

Only ten players have won multiple Ballon d’Or awards, with Messi holding the record for the most wins with seven victories. Other notable multiple winners include Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten, each taking home the trophy three times. The winners’ list also features 34 players who have won the award once, making the Ballon d’Or a true symbol of individual excellence in football.

The Ballon d’Or has witnessed numerous unforgettable moments, such as Messi’s record-breaking sixth win in 2019 and Luka Modric’s victory in 2018, ending Messi and Ronaldo’s decade-long dominance. These milestones showcase the ever-evolving landscape of football and the incredible talent that continues to emerge and make history in the sport.

First Ballon d’Or Winner: Stanley Matthews

Statue of Stanley Matthews winner of the first Ballon d

In 1956, Stanley Matthews became the first-ever Ballon d’Or winner, making history as an English footballer. Matthews’ victory set the stage for future football legends like Alfredo Di Stéfano, beginning a storied tradition that continues to recognize the world’s best footballers.

Matthews’ inaugural win paved the way for a diverse array of footballers from various nationalities to claim the prestigious award. Over the years, the Ballon d’Or has recognized the incredible achievements of football icons such as George Weah, the first non-European winner in 1995, and Brazil’s Ronaldo, the first South American winner in 1997.

Women’s Ballon d’Or: Trailblazers and Champions

Ada Hegerberg celebrating during a soccer game.

Introduced in 2018, the Ballon d’Or Féminin rapidly emerged as a symbol of excellence and recognition for the world’s best female football players. This prestigious annual award honors the trailblazers and champions of women’s football, showcasing their immense talent and dedication.

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Ada Hegerberg, a Norwegian striker, made history as the first Ballon d’Or Féminin winner in 2018, setting a new standard for female footballers to aspire to. Since then, Lieke Martens, Marta, and Megan Rapinoe have joined Hegerberg in the annals of women’s Ballon d’Or history, emphasizing the incredible achievements and impact of these inspiring women in football.

Inaugural Ballon d’Or Féminin Winner: Ada Hegerberg

Ada Hegerberg marked a significant milestone in women’s football by becoming the first-ever Ballon d’Or Féminin winner in 2018. A three-time Women’s Champions League winner and a prolific scorer for Olympique Lyonnais, Hegerberg’s incredible achievements have earned her a place among the football elite.

Hegerberg’s groundbreaking win not only highlights her extraordinary talent but also serves as an inspiration for future generations of female footballers. Her success has paved the way for other exceptional women to be recognized and celebrated in the football world, proving that the Women’s Ballon d’Or is a testament to the immense skill and dedication of female footballers across the globe.

Additional Ballon d’Or Awards and Honors

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Apart from the main Ballon d’Or awards, France Football Magazine presents other prestigious honors that acknowledge footballers’ achievements in diverse categories. These awards include:

  • The Kopa Trophy, given to the best U21 player in the world.
  • The Yashin Trophy, awarded to the top goalkeeper of the year.
  • The Gerd Müller Trophy, presented to the striker who scores the most goals in a season.

These additional awards further highlight the incredible range of talent and skill in football, acknowledging footballers’ achievements across different positions and age groups. They serve as a testament to the depth and diversity of talent in the sport, celebrating the accomplishments of the sport’s brightest stars.

Ballon d’Or Winners by Nationality and Club

The Ballon d’Or winners’ list reflects the diversity and talent of footballers worldwide. The most successful nationalities in claiming the prestigious award are Dutch, German, Argentine, Portuguese, and French. This showcases the immense skill and dedication of footballers from different backgrounds.

Regarding clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid have been the most successful in producing Ballon d’Or winners, with each club boasting 12 victories. AC Milan’s back-to-back wins in 1988 and 1989 also stand out as a unique achievement in Ballon d’Or history, demonstrating the incredible talent and dedication of footballers representing various clubs worldwide.

Memorable Ballon d’Or Moments and Milestones

A picture of the list of Ballon d

The Ballon d’Or has staged unforgettable moments and milestones, celebrating the achievements and impact of its recipients. One such moment is Messi’s record-breaking sixth win in 2019, a testament to his unparalleled skill and dedication to the sport. Another highlight is Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible international feats, including leading Portugal to victory in the UEFA European Championship and the UEFA Nations League.

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In addition to these prestigious individual awards, the Ballon d’Or has introduced new honors, such as the Club of the Year, which Chelsea won in 2021. These memorable moments and milestones showcase the incredible achievements of footballers and clubs alike, emphasizing the lasting impact and significance of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.


The Ballon d’Or has been a symbol of excellence and recognition in football since 1956. From the unforgettable reign of Messi and Ronaldo to the trailblazers and champions of women’s football, the Ballon d’Or winners’ list is a testament to the incredible talent, dedication, and diversity of footballers across the globe.

As we celebrate the achievements of these legendary football icons, let us also remember the countless moments and milestones that have shaped the history of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award. May the legacy of these exceptional athletes continue to inspire and pave the way for future generations of footballers, as the Ballon d’Or remains a beacon of excellence and recognition in the beautiful game.


Who can win Ballon d’Or in 2023?

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland were the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or in 2023. Messi, with his record-time wins and Haaland’s incredible goal-scoring abilities, both had remarkable careers. Messi emerged as the victor, winning his seventh Ballon d’Or.

Who is No. 1, Messi or Ronaldo?

Lionel Messi is considered No. 1 in football. He has won more titles with FC Barcelona and has more individual accolades, including seven Ballon d’Or awards.

Who will most likely win the Ballon d’Or in 2023?

Lionel Messi was the odds-on favorite to win the Ballon d’Or in 2023, with his iconic World Cup win and impressive form during the second half of the season. Messi emerged as the winner, solidifying his status as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

How many Ballon d’Or awards does Messi have?

Lionel Messi has won a record seven Ballon d’Or awards, surpassing his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five. He is the only football player in history to have won the prestigious award seven times.

Who holds the record for the most Ballon d’Or awards?

Lionel Messi holds the record for the most Ballon d’Or awards, with seven victories. His exceptional talent and consistent performances have solidified his place as one of the greatest footballers of all time.