The Ballon d'Or is a prominent individual award for soccer players awarded annually by the French weekly magazine France Football. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious individual soccer honors. It has been given since 1956, yet between 2010 and 2015, it was briefly amalgamated with the FIFA World Player of the Year (established in 1991) and dubbed the FIFA Ballon d'Or.
The collaboration ended in 2016, and the prize was renamed the Ballon d'Or, while FIFA created its own yearly award, The Best FIFA Men's Player. Both award organizations evaluate the winners of the combined FIFA Ballon d'Or. From 1956 through 2006, the Ballon d'Or award, created by sports writer Gabriel Hanot, honors the male player judged to have played the best during the preceding year, based on votes by soccer writers.
Coaches and captains of national teams were given the ability to vote to start in 2007. Originally, it was called the European Footballer of the Year award since it was exclusively given to European players. In 2007, the award was elevated to a worldwide honor, and all professional players from across the world were eligible.
List of all-time Ballon d'Or winners
While playing for Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain, Lionel Messi holds the record for most wins with seven, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo with five (one with Manchester United and four with Real Madrid). Johan Cruyff of Ajax and Barcelona, Michel Platini of Juventus, and Marco van Basten of Milan are the only three players who have won the award three times apiece. Players from the Netherlands, Germany, and Portugal have won the most Ballons d'Or, with seven apiece.
Players from Germany and the Netherlands were the only ones to take all three top spots in the same year, with German and especially Italian clubs accomplishing the feat, including two years with only Milan players, a record that stood until Spanish clubs experienced an unexpected dominance and Barcelona became the second club with three top players.
As part of their continuous rivalry, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the FIFA Ballon d'Or in each of the last six editions.
Messi, who played for Barcelona, won the Ballon d'Or for the first time in 2010 and went on to win it three times in a row in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In the next two years, Ronaldo, who was a member of Real Madrid, won many trophies. With twelve and eleven titles, respectively, two Spanish teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid lead the standings for most winners.
|Player||Number of awards||Year|
|Lionel Messi||7||2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||5||2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017|
|Marco van Basten||3||1988, 1989, 1992|
|Michel Platini||3||1983, 1984, 1985|
|Johan Cruyff||3||1971, 1973, 1974|
|Ronaldo Nazario||2||1997, 2002|
|Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||2||1980, 1981|
|Kevin Keegan||2||1978, 1979|
|Franz Beckenbauer||2||1972, 1976|
|Alfredo Di Stefano||2||1957, 1959|