The Ballon d’Or, among the many awards an individual can receive, is the most prestigious. This award is given to a player who has performed exceptionally well in a calendar. France Football honors players with this award, after receiving votes from journalists. Over the years, football has had some amazing players. The players have won the award several times, while even winning it just once is an impressive achievement.
Only the top players in the World are qualified to claim the prestigious award. Originally, the Ballon d’Or went to European players. Later it was extended to include players who played for clubs on the continent. The Ballon d’Or awards were first given to European players, and then extended to include all clubs in the continent.
Lionel Messi won the 2021 edition and has received the award most often. It is interesting to see how many Ballon d’Ors he has won compared to the other players. Take a look at these top 10 football players who have won the most Ballon d’Ors in history.
The 10 most decorated Ballon d’Or players in football history.
In the world of football, there are multiple awards which use different metrics to summarize the qualitative and numerical superiority of an individual player or team. Since its creation, the Ballon d’Or has been a symbol of excellence for individuals. Some of the best players for their club as well as their country have been honored with this prestigious award.
|Name (country).||Ballon d’Ors|
|Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (GER)||2|
|Kevin Keegan (ENG)||2|
|Alfredo Di Stefano (ARG, ESP)||2|
|Ronaldo Nazario (BRA)||2|
|Franz Beckenbauer (GER)||2|
|Marco van Basten (NED)||2|
|Johan Cruyff (NED)||3|
|Michel Platini (FRA)||3|
|Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)||5|
|Lionel Messi (ARG)||7|
From lowest to highest
The players on the list are a good indication of their stature, but it’s not only the numbers that show dominance. The following is a brief discussion of the players and their influence on the modern game.
10. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (2)
Rummenigge, one of the most talented attackers of his generation was hailed as a versatile forward capable of playing either as a winger or a center forward. Ses main strengths were speed, dribbling and heading, as well as his ability to score from close range or from outside of the box. He was also known for his knack of scoring in difficult situations.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a legend of FC Bayern Munich and Germany. He was awarded the Ballon d’Or twice. The first time he won the award was in in 1980, and his second in in 1981. Three-time Bundesliga top scorer, he also won two Bundesliga titles, two European Club Championships and one UEFA Euro with the German National Team.
9. Kevin Keegan (2)
Kevin Keegan, a Liverpool legend and England international player, is also a Liverpool club icon. He was a two-time Ballon d’Or in 1979 and 1978 . The forward won 11 trophies during his time with the Reds. This included three Premier League titles, and one UEFA Champions League.
8. Alfredo Di Stefano (2)
Di Stefano, a player who was considered to be very strong, was also a prolific goal scorer, a quick and skilled attacker, a creative and imaginative visionary, a versatile tactician, and a great athlete. He could play anywhere on the field. He was arguably the best dribbler to ever step foot on a football pitch. He was a master at using feints, volleys and bicycle kicks to create opportunities and get past defenders.
Alfredo Di Stefano, regarded as one of Spain’s most deadly forwards, passed away in 2014. The legendary striker won 1957 & 1959. In addition, he won the Spanish League 8 times with Real Madrid. He won the golden boot in La Liga five times.
7. Ronaldo Nazario (2)
Ronaldo is considered one of the best and most complete players of all time. Ronaldo was an excellent goal scorer, but he could also provide assists to his teammates due to his vision and passing skills. He was a powerful, technical, fast player with great movement. Ronaldo is also known as El Phenomeno. He was the youngest winner of the award.
‘original’ Ronaldo, as some claim popularly, also won the Ballon d’Or two times. He was awarded the award in both 1997 and 2002. Brazil won the FIFA World Cup in 2002 thanks to his performance. Two-time World Cup winner Brazilian, who played for Real Madrid and FC Barcelona during his career.
6. Franz Beckenbauer (2)
Franz Beckenbauer is also known as “the father of sweeper-defender” and a legend in the world of football. Former German national footballer won the Ballon d’Or in 1972 and in 1976. He won the Champions League 3 times while playing for FC Bayern Munich. He was a five-time Bundesliga champion and also won Euros and World Cups with Germany. Beckenbauer, affectionately called Der Kaiser (the King), was one of football’s most dominant figures during his time.
5. Marco van Basten (2)
Van Basten is regarded as one of the most accomplished and complete strikers in the history and sport. He was nicknamed the “Swan of Utrecht” because of his elegant and intelligent attacking style.
Marco van Basten was one of five players who won the Ballon d’Or at least three times. The Dutch legend won the Ballon d’Or in 1989, 1992 and 1988. He won two Champions League titles and one UEFA Euro Trophy with the Dutch National Team.
4. Johan Cruyff (3)
Cruyff has been hailed as a pioneer in the history Ajax and Barcelona. He also played a major role in the Dutch national team. The style of play Cruyff brought to Barcelona was known as tiki taka. It is characterized by quick passing, movement, and working the ball in various channels.
Dutch legend, Ajax won the European Club Trophy three times. The Dutch legend also won nine Eredivisie titles in the Netherlands and one La Liga title with FC Barcelona. Cruyff was the winner of three Ballon d’Or awards: in 1971, 1973, and 1974.
3. Michel Platini (3)
Platini, a football legend and one of its greatest passers is also regarded as a free-kick and penalty kick specialist. Platini was known for his ball-control, technical abilities, dribbling, creativity, range, and vision despite not having any notable athletic or physical attributes.
The French football legend Michel Platini has won the Ballon d’Or three times in a row. He won the award in 1984, 1985, and Platini also won two Serie A titles with Juventus, and one UEFA Euro for France. He also served as the President of UEFA from 2015 until now.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (5)
Cristiano Cristiano won the Ballon d’Or a grand total of 5 times. Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or 12 times out of 13 between 2008 and 2020. The Ballon d’Or in this era was a race between two legendary players. Portuguese international was the winner in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016. The Real Madrid legendary took second place on six occasions.
1. Lionel Messi (7)
Lionel Messi has won the most Ballon d’Or Awards. He has won this award in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 as well as 2021. This is one of his many achievements. This record may never be broken because of Messi’s consistency and longevity at the highest level. All of Messi’s Ballon d’Or victories came while he was playing for FC Barcelona.