The Ballon d'Or (French pronunciation: [balɔ̃ dɔʁ]; "Golden Ball"), often referred to as the European Footballer of the Year award, is an annual association football award presented by France Football. It was awarded from 1956 to 2009 and was revived in 2016. Conceived by sports writer Gabriel Hanot, the award honours the player deemed to have performed the best over the previous year, based on voting by football journalists. Originally, only European players were in contention for the Ballon d'Or, but from 1995, all players at European clubs are eligible.
Stanley Matthews of Blackpool was the inaugural winner of the Ballon d'Or. Milan's George Weah, the only African recipient, became the first non-European to win the award in the year the rules of eligibility were changed. Ronaldo of Internazionale became the first South American winner two years later. Three players have won the award three times each: Johan Cruyff of Ajax and Barcelona, Michel Platini of Juventus and Marco van Basten of Milan. With seven awards each, Dutch and German players won the most Ballons d'Or. Italian clubs Juventus and Milan had the most winners respectively; six players won eight awards while playing for each club.
In 2007, the Ballon d'Or changed in scope from an honour bestowed on Europe-based players by Europe-based journalists to one open to all players and voted on by journalists from around the world. It was subsequently merged with a similar award, the FIFA World Player of the Year award, to create the FIFA Ballon d'Or, which was awarded to the world's best male player between 2010 and 2015, when FIFA and France Football broke the merging agreement. In 2011, UEFA created the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award to maintain the format of the original Ballon d'Or.
Wins by player
|Michel Platini||3 (1983, 1984, 1985)||—||2 (1977, 1980)|
|Johan Cruyff||3 (1971, 1973, 1974)||—||1 (1975)|
|Marco van Basten||3 (1988, 1989, 1992)||—||—|
|Franz Beckenbauer||2 (1972, 1976)||2 (1974, 1975)||1 (1966)|
|Ronaldo||2 (1997, 2002)||1 (1996)||1 (1998)|
|Alfredo Di Stéfano||2 (1957, 1959)||1 (1956)||—|
|Kevin Keegan||2 (1978, 1979)||1 (1977)||—|
|Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||2 (1980, 1981)||1 (1979)||—|
|Luis Suárez||1 (1960)||2 (1961, 1964)||1 (1965)|
|Eusébio||1 (1965)||2 (1962, 1966)||—|
|Bobby Charlton||1 (1966)||2 (1967, 1968)||—|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||1 (2008)||2 (2007, 2009)||—|
|Raymond Kopa||1 (1958)||1 (1959)||2 (1956, 1957)|
|Gerd Müller||1 (1970)||1 (1972)||2 (1969, 1973)|
|Zinedine Zidane||1 (1998)||1 (2000)||1 (1997)|
|Lionel Messi||1 (2009)||1 (2008)||1 (2007)|
|George Best||1 (1968)||1 (1971)||—|
|Gianni Rivera||1 (1969)||1 (1963)||—|
|Ruud Gullit||1 (1987)||1 (1988)||—|
|Lothar Matthäus||1 (1990)||1 (1991)||—|
|Roberto Baggio||1 (1993)||1 (1994)||—|
|Hristo Stoichkov||1 (1994)||1 (1992)||—|
|Andriy Shevchenko||1 (2004)||—||2 (1999, 2000)|
|Allan Simonsen||1 (1977)||—||1 (1983)|
|Ronaldinho||1 (2005)||—||1 (2004)|
|Matthias Sammer||1 (1996)||—||—|
Wins by country
Wins by club
A special Ballon d'Or, under the name Super Ballon d'Or, was awarded to Alfredo Di Stéfano in 1989, after he surpassed Johan Cruyff and Michel Platini in France Football's voting. A decade later, France Football elected Pelé the Football Player of the Century after consulting their former Ballon d'Or recipients. Among the 34 previous winners, 30 cast their votes; Stanley Matthews, Omar Sívori and George Best abstained, and Lev Yashin had died. Each voter was allotted five votes worth up to five points; however, Di Stéfano only chose a first place, Platini a first and second place, and George Weah two players for fifth place. Pelé was named the greatest by 17 voters, receiving almost double the number of points earned by the runner-up, Diego Maradona.
|Diego Maradona (ARG)||65||3||6||5||5||1|
|Johan Cruyff (NED)||62||1||4||7||9||2|
|Alfredo Di Stéfano (ESP)||44||4||3||3||1||1|
|Michel Platini (FRA)||40||1||5||1||3||6|
To coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Ballon d'Or in 2016, France Football published a reevaluation of the awards presented before 1995, when only European players were eligible to win the award. 12 out of the 39 Ballons d'Or presented during this time period would have been awarded to South American players; in addition to Pelé and Diego Maradona, Garrincha, Mario Kempes, and Romário were retrospectively recognized as worthy winners. The original recipients, however, remain unchanged. Maradona and Pelé received honorary Ballons d'Or for their services to football in 1996 and 2013, respectively.
|1958||Raymond Kopa (FRA)||Pelé (BRA)|
|1959||Alfredo Di Stéfano (ESP)||Pelé (BRA)|
|1960||Luis Suárez (ESP)||Pelé (BRA)|
|1961||Omar Sívori (ITA)||Pelé (BRA)|
|1962||Josef Masopust (TCH)||Garrincha (BRA)|
|1963||Lev Yashin (URS)||Pelé (BRA)|
|1964||Denis Law (SCO)||Pelé (BRA)|
|1970||Gerd Müller (FRG)||Pelé (BRA)|
|1978||Kevin Keegan (ENG)||Mario Kempes (ARG)|
|1986||Igor Belanov (URS)||Diego Maradona (ARG)|
|1990||Lothar Matthäus (GER)||Diego Maradona (ARG)|
|1994||Hristo Stoichkov (BUL)||Romário (BRA)|
- UEFA Best Player in Europe
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year
- European Golden Shoe
- World Soccer Player of the Year
- FIFPro World Player of the Year
- Castrol Rankings
- Born in Argentina, Di Stéfano acquired Spanish citizenship in 1956 and went on to play for the Spanish national football team.
- Born in Argentina, Sívori acquired Italian citizenship in 1961 and went on to play for the Italian national football team.
- Cruyff was signed by Barcelona from Ajax midway through 1973.
- Keegan was signed by Hamburg from Liverpool midway through 1977.
- Lineker was signed by Barcelona from Everton midway through 1986.
- Gullit was signed by Milan from PSV Eindhoven midway through 1987.
- Futre was signed by Atlético Madrid from Porto midway through 1987.
- Rijkaard was signed by Milan from Real Zaragoza midway through 1988.
- Weah was signed by Milan from Paris Saint-Germain midway through 1995.
- Ronaldo was signed by Barcelona from PSV Eindhoven midway through 1996.
- Ronaldo was signed by Internazionale from Barcelona midway through 1997.
- Figo was signed by Real Madrid from Barcelona midway through 2000.
- Ronaldo was signed by Real Madrid from Internazionale midway through 2002.
- Deco was signed by Barcelona from Porto midway through 2004.
- Cannavaro was signed by Real Madrid from Juventus midway through 2006.
- Cristiano Ronaldo was signed by Real Madrid from Manchester United midway through 2009.
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