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Ballon d’Or: Winners By Year

Ballon D’or Winners List of All Time

The Ballon D’or award is each year received to the best player of the year. Every player’s dream is to one day win the Ballon d’Or, but very few get the chance to do that.

It’s one of the most prestigious awards in the world, across all sports, so it’s always interesting to look at the past winners. Below is a breakdown of all the Ballon d’Or winners, from the first award in 1956 to the most recent one.

Before going through each year’s winner, here are the players with the most Ballon d’Or awards.

Here are all the Ballon d’Or winners, from the start in 1956 to the most recent one.

2023Lionel MessiInter Miami CF
2022Karim BenzemaReal Madrid
2021Lionel MessiParis Saint Germain FC
2020Not Awarded
2019Lionel MessiFC Barcelona
2018Luka ModricReal Madrid
2017Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid
2016Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid
2015Lionel MessiFC Barcelona
2014Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid
2013Cristiano RonaldoReal Madrid
2012Lionel MessiFC Barcelona
2011Lionel MessiFC Barcelona
2010Lionel MessiFC Barcelona
2009Lionel MessiFC Barcelona
2008Cristiano RonaldoManchester United
2007Kaká AC Milan
2006Fabio CannavaroReal Madrid
2005RonaldinhoFC Barcelona
2004Andriy ShevchenkoAC Milan
2003Pavel NedvědJuventus FC
2002Ronaldo (R9)Real Madrid
2001Michael OwenLiverpool FC
2000Luís FigoReal Madrid
1999RivaldoFC Barcelona
1998Zinedine ZidaneJuventus FC
1997Ronaldo (R9)Inter Milan
1996Matthias SammerBorussia Dortmund
1995George WeahAC Milan
1994Hristo StoichkovFC Barcelona
1993Roberto Baggio Juventus FC
1992Marco van BastenAC Milan
1991Jean-Pierre PapinOlympique Marseille
1990Lothar MatthäusInter Milan
1989Marco van BastenAC Milan
1988Marco van BastenAC Milan
1987Ruud GullitAC Milan
1986Igor BelanovDynamo Kyiv
1985Michel PlatiniJuventus FC
1984Michel PlatiniJuventus FC
1983Michel PlatiniJuventus FC
1982Paolo RossiJuventus FC
1981Karl-Heinz RummeniggeBayern Munich
1980Karl-Heinz RummeniggeBayern Munich
1979Kevin KeeganHamburger SV
1978Kevin KeeganHamburger SV
1977Allan SimonsenBorussia Mönchengladbach
1976Franz BeckenbauerBayern Munich
1975Oleg BlokhinDynamo Kyiv
1974Johan CruyffFC Barcelona
1973Johan CruyffFC Barcelona
1972Franz BeckenbauerBayern Munich
1971Johan CruyffAFC Ajax
1970Gerd MüllerBayern Munich
1969Gianni RiveraAC Milan
1968George BestManchester United
1967Flórián AlbertFerencv rosi TC
1966Bobby CharltonManchester United
1965EusébioSL Benfica
1964Denis LawManchester United
1963Lev YashinDynamo Moscow
1962Josef MasopustDukla Prague
1961Omar SívoriJuventus FC
1960Luis SuárezFC Barcelona
1959Alfredo Di StéfanoReal Madrid
1958Raymond KopaReal Madrid
1957Alfredo Di StéfanoReal Madrid
1956Stanley MatthewsBlackpool FC

The Soccer Favorites To Win The 2023 Ballon D’or

PlayerClubGoals scored in 2022-23Assists in 2022-23Trophies won in 2022-23
Lionel MessiParis Saint-Germain3123FIFA World Cup
Erling HaalandManchester City228None
Vinicius Jr.Real Madrid2220UEFA Champions League
Kevin De BruyneManchester City2018Premier League, FA Cup
Kylian MbappéParis Saint-Germain3926None

The Stellar Contenders for 2023

The aura of excitement surrounding the 2023 Ballon D’or winners is palpable. The football world is buzzing with speculations, and here are the frontrunners:

  • Lionel Messi (Argentina, Paris Saint-Germain): With an astonishing record of seven Ballon d’Or titles, Messi remains a dominant force. His recent achievements, including leading Argentina to a FIFA World Cup victory and racking up 31 goals and 23 assists for PSG in just 49 appearances, make him a tough competitor.
  • Erling Haaland (Norway, Manchester City): A dynamo in the making, Haaland has already left an indelible mark with his 86 goals in 89 appearances for Borussia Dortmund and Norway. Now, with Manchester City, all eyes are on him to see how he performs.
  • Vinicius Jr. (Brazil, Real Madrid): The young sensation from Real Madrid had everyone’s attention with a breakout season, boasting 22 goals and 20 assists in 52 games.
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium, Manchester City): One of the most well-rounded midfielders in the game today, De Bruyne showcased his prowess with 20 goals and 18 assists in 45 games for Manchester City.
  • Kylian Mbappé (France, Paris Saint-Germain): With speed and finesse, Mbappé is undoubtedly one of the top talents globally. His stats for the season? An impressive 39 goals and 26 assists in 46 games for PSG.

Ballon d’Or FAQs

What is the Ballon d’Or?

The Ballon d’Or, often referred to as the “Golden Ball,” is an esteemed annual football award given by France Football. Initiated in 1956, it underwent a brief merger with the FIFA World Player of the Year between 2010 and 2015, resulting in the FIFA Ballon d’Or. The accolade acknowledges the standout male footballer from the previous year.

Who won the first Ballon d’Or?

In 1956, Stanley Matthews of Blackpool FC was honored with the inaugural Ballon d’Or. His commendable dribbling prowess and sportsmanship at the age of 41 etched his name as one of the oldest recipients of this accolade.

Which player has secured the most Ballon d’Or awards?

Lionel Messi has set the record by clinching the Ballon d’Or title seven times as of 2023. His journey commenced in 2009 with FC Barcelona, solidifying his stature as one of football’s all-time greats.

Can goalkeepers be honored with the Ballon d’Or?

Indeed, goalkeepers are eligible for the Ballon d’Or. Nevertheless, the accolade has traditionally favored outfield players due to their more visible contributions, such as goals and assists. The sole goalkeeper to have won it is Lev Yashin in 1963.

Is there a Ballon d’Or for female footballers?

Absolutely! The Ballon d’Or Féminin, introduced in 2018, celebrates the best female footballer of the year. Ada Hegerberg, representing Norway and Olympique Lyonnais, was the first to receive this honor.

Have defenders ever claimed the Ballon d’Or?

Several defenders have indeed been recipients of the Ballon d’Or. A notable recent winner is Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, following his leadership in Italy’s World Cup triumph.

What is the selection process for the Ballon d’Or?

International journalists are responsible for selecting the Ballon d’Or winner. They nominate three players, assigning five points to their top choice, three to the second, and one to the third. The player accumulating the most points is crowned the winner.

Is it possible to win the Ballon d’Or without claiming a major trophy that year?

Yes. Lionel Messi’s victory in 2010 serves as a precedent, where despite not securing the World Cup or Champions League, his phenomenal tally of 60 goals for Barcelona ensured his win.

Which nation has produced the highest number of Ballon d’Or winners?

Argentina and Portugal share this honor with seven Ballon d’Or titles each, predominantly due to the illustrious careers of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Is the Ballon d’Or exclusive to European players?

Initially, the Ballon d’Or was reserved for European players, but this changed in 1995, allowing all players from European clubs to be considered. Since 2007, players from clubs globally are eligible.

Who stands as the youngest Ballon d’Or recipient?

Ronaldo Nazario, at just 20 years of age, claimed the Ballon d’Or in 1996 while representing FC Barcelona, showcasing his prodigious talent.

Has any player ever declined the Ballon d’Or?

To date, no player has declined the Ballon d’Or. While some have skipped the ceremony due to varying reasons, the award remains a sought-after distinction in football.

Is there a dedicated Ballon d’Or for young talents?

Yes, the Kopa Trophy, inaugurated in 2018, honors the most promising player under 21. The award’s namesake is the legendary French footballer Raymond Kopa, and its first recipient was Kylian Mbappé.

How do FIFA and the Ballon d’Or relate?

While initially established by France Football independently, the Ballon d’Or combined with the FIFA World Player of the Year between 2010 and 2015 to form the FIFA Ballon d’Or. This alliance ended in 2016, prompting FIFA to introduce its award: The Best FIFA Men’s Player.

Has any African player received the Ballon d’Or?

To this day, no African-born player has won the Ballon d’Or. However, Liberia’s George Weah was celebrated with the award in 1995 during his stint with AC Milan, making him the first recipient from outside Europe and South America.