Lifting Ballon d’Or is not easy. It requires hard work and consistent performance throughout the year. Not only that, the trophy collection for a year is also very important. The Ballon d’ Or Award is one of the personal achievements.
In order to raise this famous trophy, football players in the world are trying hard for their best performance. It is not just the big names in football who wins this prestigious award but also their performance in the field.
–Below is a list of 7 legendary footballers who never tasted the Ballon d’Or awards.
Note: 1991 is the year when the FIFA Player of the Year Award arrived and it was too late, neither Pele nor Diego Maradona qualified to win the Ballon d’Or. Since its establishment in 1956, the “Ballon d’ Or” was only given to European players playing in Europe.
7 Legendary Footballers who never won the Ballon d’ Or award
1. Paolo Maldini
Paolo Maldini is the iconic footballer from Italy and also the icon of AC Milan. He has won five UEFA Champions League trophies in AC Milan. The iconic defender has also won seven Serie A titles. In 2003, he was named in the polls of Henry and Nedved and ranked third.
2. Ferenc Puskas
Despite his legendary status in Real Madrid and Hungary, he has never won a Ballon d’Or. The closest he got was the second place in 1960. The Hungarian star was one of the best footballer in the 1950s. He won everything that could have been won at Real Madrid.
3. Raúl González
The highest goal scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League was Raul Gonzalez (now broken by Messi and Ronaldo) was the idol and source of inspiration for everyone in Real Madrid. He has won all the possible titles for Real Madrid and has many club records, but he never got his hands on Ballon d’ Or award.
The closest he came to the Ballon d’Or was second in 2001 where he lost to Liverpool’s Michael Owen.
4. Thierry Henry
The French forward Thierry Henry was placed second in 2003 and third place in 2006 but never lifted the Ballon d’ Or. The Frenchman’s pace, technique, and shooting ability made it an unstoppable striker. He won the World Cup, the Premier League, and FA Cup doubles titles. During this time, he won the World Cup, the Premier League, and FA Cup doubles titles, he also won the Treble with Spanish club Barcelona.
5. Xavier Hernández (Xavi)
Between 2008 and 2010, three consecutive third places are the best results that Barcelona and Spain’s midfielder Xavi achieved in Ballon d’ Or award. The Spanish superstar won the 2008 European Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the 2012 European Cup but he also finished third in three of the Ballon d’Or rankings.
6. Andres Iniesta
He unfortunately shared the same era with two legends Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, which can also be said to Xavi. Iniesta is a complete footballer, the metronome and magician who have won all the trophies for the club and the country.
Andres Iniesta was defeated by Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi in 2010 for the Ballon d’Or, and after two years he ranked third behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
7. Gianluigi Buffon
The only goalkeeper to win the award was Soviet professional footballer Lev Ivanovich Yashin, nicknamed the “Black Spider” who won the Ballon d’ Or in 1963. Italy and Juventus legend Buffon won the FIFA World Cup in 2006 but his captain and central defender, Fabio Cannavaro defeated him and Buffon finished as a runner-up. Cannavaro won with 173 votes, Buffon trailed by 124 votes.
Neymar and Mbappe: Successors of Messi and Ronaldo at the Ballon D’Or https://t.co/QQuZpWUqgG— We Futbol Fans (@WeFutbolFans) October 9, 2020