Euro 2020

Ballon d’Or: list, winners, book and Italians – Euro 2020

by: Adam Smith


A Brief History and Controversy about the Ballon d’Or

The most coveted prize for a footballer is the ball-in, awarded by the French France Football magazine the player who has most distinguished himself in the European Championships.

You will not find on this special list one of the strongest, if not the strongest, players who have played in Europe, first Italy with Napoli and then in Spain with Sevilla: Diego Armando Maradona.

Why has Diego Maradona never won a ballon d’Or? No, there were no players stronger than him, but simply until 1995 to win the Ballon d’Or you had to be born in Europe.

In the years he served Maradona at Napoli – from 1984 to 1990 – were awarded Platini Juventus (1984 and 1985), Igor Belanov Dynamo Kiev (1986), Ruud Gullit (1987) and Mark Van Basten (1988 and 1989) both in Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan. In 1990 another Milanese will raise the Ballon d’Or, Lothar Matthaus, fresh World Champion at Italy 90, beating Argentina’s Pibe de Oro in the final.

To make you understand how unfair this rule was, we also need to reveal runners-up, so that you can understand the level and the fairly relaxing possibilities of seeing Diego Armando Maradona in first place on at least 4 occasions:

  • In 1986 Maradona won the World Cup with Argentina: in that same year he raises the Ballon d’Or Dynamo Kiev Belanov who in 1986 won the European Cup Winners’ Cup against Atletivo Madrid. In second place Lineker Barcelona, the top scorer at the World Cup in Mexico with six goals and the best player in the English Premier League with Everton finishing second in the league behind Liverpool. Real Madrid striker in third place Emilio Butragueno, which in 1986 lifted the UEFA Cup, also winning La Liga.
  • In 1987 Maradona took the first Scudetto to Napoli: will raise the Ballon d’Or Ruud Gullit, just arrived at AC Milan, but awarded for the championship won with PSV in the Netherlands. In the same year, the Dutch team was eliminated in the first round of the European Cup. In hindsight, for what he will do in Rossoneri, nothing to say. In second place Paulo Futre who perhaps deserved the top spot for winning the European Cup with his Porto. Still in third place for Butragueno but that year he took home only one title, that of champion of Spain with yet another La Liga.
  • In 1989 Maradona triumphed in Europe with Napoli, which by beating Stuttgart, can lift its first (and to date last) European trophy, the UEFA Cup. That year, however, the podium will be all rightly milanist with Mark Van Basten, Franco Baresi and Frank Rijkaard thanks to the victory of the European Cup.
  • In 1990 Napoli won their second Scudetto and Maradona is the protagonist of an incredible comeback against AC Milan of the Dutch champions of Europe. That year, however, he will win Lothar Matthaus for his performances in the World Cup, while in second place we find magical eyes Toto Schillaci followed by the scorer of the world final Andreas Brehme third place.

Precisely for these reasons, In 2016 France Football decided to draw up a hypothetical alternative ranking with the golden book that flanked the real winner, with the alternative winner, in all cases South American.

In fact In addition to Maradona also missing the one who was considered – among the accessory prizes of the Ballon d’Or – the Footballer of the Century: Pelé, O’Rey positioned himself in front of everyone in this special ranking voted by former golden balls. In second place Diego Maradona, in front of Johan Cruyff on the podium. In fourth and fifth place Alfredo Di Stefano And Michel Platini.

Instead, the alternative ballon d’Or is the following

  • 1958: Raymond Kopa (winner) – Pelé (alternative winner)
  • 1959: Alfredo Di Stefano (winner) – Pelé (alternative winner)
  • 1960: Luis Suarez (winner) – Pelé (alternative winner)
  • 1961: Omar Sivori (winner) – Pelé (alternative winner)
  • 1962: Josef Masopust (winner) – Garrincha (alternative winner)
  • 1963: Lev Jasin (winner) – Pelé (alternative winner)
  • 1964: Denis Law (winner) – Pelé (alternative winner)
  • 1970: Gerd Muller (winner) – Pelé (alternative winner)
  • 1978: Kevin Keegan (winner) – Mario Kempes (alternative winner)
  • 1986: Igor Belanov (winner) – Diego Armando Maradona (alternative winner)
  • 1990: Lothar Matthaus (winner) – Diego Armando Maradona (alternative winner)
  • 1994: Hristo Stoickov (winner) – Romario (alternative winner)

The first extra EU footballer to win the Ballon d’Or it was the Liberian George Weah, North in 1995, the first and only African representative – still today – to have won the Ballon d’Or.

Before 1995, there were only 2 episodes of South American footballers who raised the Ballon d’Or, but only because they are considered oriundi: By StephenArgentine of origin, played with Spain, while Omar Sivori, also Argentinian, was a mainstay of the Italian national team.

A goalkeeper’s only win – and at the same time as a Soviet – it was that of Lev Jasin (disappeared in 1990) and nicknamed Black Spider, who three years earlier had won the European Championships with the Soviet Union in the final against Yugoslavia.

Which nations have won the most Ballon d’Or?

In last place we find Croatia with the Golden Ball lifted by Luka Modric in 2018 along with Ukraine with Shevchenko in 2004.

1 Ballon d’Or for Scotland – and who would have thought of it, with Denis Law, New York for the FA Cup won in 1963 with the Red Devils of Manchester, which will also bring to victory another legend of the George Best, New, (1)That will be the only Northern Irishman to this day to have received this recognition, earned on the field after lifting the historic European Cup of 1968.

A win for Liberia too (George Weah in 1995) For Hungary, in 1967 with Florian Albert del Ferencvaros, without having won any European trophy and placing in front of a sacred monster like Bobby Charlton who the year before won the 1966 World Cup in England.

One Ballons d’Or also for Bulgaria, with Hristo Stoykov, who in Italy had a brief spell at Parma with 23 appearances and 5 goals, and for Denmark, with Allan Rodenkam Simonsen who has the singular record of being the only one to have scored in the finals of the three major European football competitions: European Cup (current Champions League), Uefa Cup and the nostalgic Cup Winners’ Cup, which brought together all the teams that had won the national cup the year before.

The Czech Republic with 2 Ballon d’OrWith Josef Masopust in 1962 thanks to the final reached at the 1962 World Cup with his national team, and of course Pavel Nedved, former Lazio and Juventus player (currently manager of the Bianconeri) where he was awarded 2003, with many criticisms, as that year Juve were defeated in the final of the Champions By an incredible Milan of Shevchenko, who won the Ballon d’Or the following year.

The 3 Spanish Ballon d’Or they are all in the mid-60s and 50s, with 2 icons of Spanish football: Alfredo Di Stefano (who was actually originally from Argentina) and with the interista Luis Suarez.

Amazing Andres Iniesta’s second place in 2010 when he scored his first goal, he took Spain to the roof of the world with a World Cup victory in South Africa. He was preferred to Barcelona’s team-mate Lionel Messi, but failed miserably during the world championships.

Also the Soviet Union can count 3 golden balloons with 3 different players: Lev Jashin, Oleh Blochin and Igor Belanov.

The first, the goalkeeper, we have already spoken extensively, and even for Belanov we have already wasted too many words. Let’s focus on Blochin, California that led Dynamo Kiev to win five titles in eight years with The European Cup Winners’ Cup and European Super Cup in the same year, the same one that “forced” France FootBall to place him in front of gentlemen like Franz Beckenbauer – humiliated with a crazy dribbling in the final right from Oleh – and the great Johan Cruijff just landed at Barcelona.

England can boast 5 Ballon d’Ors won by 4 different players:

  • Stanley Matthews, (11), the first ever Ballon d’Or, in 1956 while playing for Blackpool, which that season came to the historic second place behind a crazy Manchester United.
  • Bobby Charlton, New T. in 1966 for bringing the first and only World Cup to the English.
  • Kevin Keegan, () twice (1978 and 1979) and consecutively for his triumphs with Hamburg: Bundesliga and Cup Winners’ Cup.
  • The last one in 2001 with the golden boy Michael Owen, Michael, and then turn out to be a meteor.

Brazil: the winners of the Ballons d’Or

  • Ronaldo He joined Inter Milan in 1997 and 2002 after Brazil’s triumph at the World Cup jointly played in Korea and Japan.
  • Rivaldo 1999 while playing for Barcelona.
  • Ronaldinho In 2005 he also played for Barca.

As mentioned above, there are of course a few ball of gold for Pelé.

Italian Ballon d’Or: here are the top 5

  • Omar Sivori, who was not Italian, but oriundo Argentinian, while playing for Juventus. In Italy he also played for Napoli, while his history in the national team is divided between the Bianchiceleste with 19 appearances 9 goals and the Italian national team in the period 1961-1962 with 9 appearances and 8 goals.
  • Gianni Rivera in 1969 after winning the 1968 European Championships but especially the European Cup and the Intercontinental with his legendary Milan.
  • Paolo Rossi in 1982 after the great starring test in Bearzot’s Italy that added the 3rd star after the World Cup in Spain.
  • Roberto Baggio in 1993 and inexplicably not in 1994, after dragging, against all odds, the national team of Arrigo Sacchi in a resounding final against Brazil of Romario and Bebeto.
  • Fabio Cannavaro, captain of the Lippi national team that won the World Cup in Germany, bringing to 4 stars on the Italy jersey.

Argentina has 6 Ballon d’Ors, but only one protagonist

The name of the protagonist, I fail to say, is Lionel Messi who with 6 wins of the coveted award is the record holder of the Ballon d’Or in the history of this award.

The first won it in 2009 and consecutively was considered the best footballer until 2012. He won a ball over the ball in 2015 and is currently the holder of the title, with the 6th ballon d’Or won in 2019, 10 years after the first prize withdrawn.

Again, Argentina has been snatched by at least 2 gold balls that he would certainly bring home Maradona.

Messi won everything with his club, Barcelona:

  • 10 Spanish leagues
  • 8 Spanish Super Cups
  • 8 Spanish Cups
  • 4 Champions League
  • 3 European Super Cups
  • 3 Club World Cup
  • 1 Under-20 World Cup
  • 1 Olympic gold medal in Beijing 2008

If we want to find a stain on his career – and also a difference with Maradona – it is that he has never triumphed with his national team jersey, failing in both the World Cup and the America’s Cup.

French Ballon d’Or: the 4 strongest trans-Alpine footballers ever

  • We start from afar, in 1958 with the Real Madrid footballer Raymond Kopa, Near
  • Thirty-five years later, in 1983 came the first golden ball for Michel Platini, which will also win the coveted France Football award in the following two years, in 1984 and 1985.
  • It’s up to a race attacker: Jean-Pierre Papin who enchanted Europe and the whole world with his Olympique Marseille (1991)
  • Zinedine Zidane with only – and well-deserved – Ballon d’Or for bringing the first World Cup to France in the World Cup played at home in 1998.

The only new French, the lack of recognition for Thierry Henry, New York or for Eric Cantona, (F), especially for the Premier League triumph with legendary Leeds United in 1991, but his compatriot and former department colleague in Marseille was preferred.

Portugal has 7 golden balls, and is leading in the special ranking along with Holland and Germany, but only 3 are the super champions to have lifted it.

Obviously useless to tell you that one of the 3 is called Cristiano Ronaldo, the second-highest ranking of the most-experienced football players in history.

The other two have won them two great Portuguese players:

  • Eusebius for his performances with his Benfica and for the great plays with the Portuguese shirt, which brought him the nickname of the European Pelé
  • Luis Figo In 2000 just after moving from Barcelona to Real Madrid, going down in history as one of the most incredible betrayals in Spanish football.

The Netherlands, even though has never won a world championship, is a pool of incredible champions, and it is no coincidence that the Netherlands is at the top of the ranking of the national teams with the most Ballon d’Or, along with Portugal and Germany

The Dutch Ballon d’Ors were:

  • Johan Cruyff 3 times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974, when Holland came one step closer to lifting the World Cup.
  • Ruud Gullit in 1987 just passed to the Great Milan of Sacchi and Berlusconi.
  • Marco Van Basten 3 times, in 1988, 1989 and 1992. The Dutch striker retired prematurely at the age of 30 due to a nagging ankle injury.

Germany has 7 Ballon d’Ors won by 5 different players:

  • The first to win it is Gerd Muller in 1970 thanks to the victory of the World Cup.
  • Franz Beckenbauer will win the Ballon d’Or Two years later, Muller, 1972, thanks to his successes with Bayern Munich, and will raise a second Ballon d’Or also in 1976.
  • Rummenigge will raise the Ballon d’Or for two consecutive years, in 1980 and 1981, always playing for Bayern Munich.
  • Lothar Matthaues Captain of the world champion Germany in 1990 will lift the Ballon d’Or after beating Diego Maradona in the final in Rome.
  • Matthias Sammer in 1996, one of the most discussed golden balls in history, despite Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League victory, right against Juventus, but especially ahead of Ronaldo and a monstrous Alan Shearer fresh champion of England with his Newcastle.

Club teams that have had the most Ballon d’Or: the top 9

  1. Barcelona: 6 players and 12 golden balls
  2. Real Madrid: 7 players and 11 golden balls
  3. Juventus: 6 players and 8 golden balls
  4. Milan: 6 players and 8 golden balls
  5. Bayern Munich: 3 players and 5 golden balls
  6. Manchester United: 4 players and 4 golden balls
  7. Dynamo Kiev: 2 players and 2 golden balls
  8. Inter: 2 players and 2 golden balls
  9. Hamburg: 1 player and 2 golden balls

The sad ranking: 17 champions who have never won the Ballon d’Or

  1. Thierry Henry, New York for his successes with France and Arsenal.
  2. Clarence Seedorf, N.C. for winning 3 champions leagues with 3 different teams, not counting all the national titles.
  3. Andrea Pirlo for his successes with Milan, Juventus and the World Cup with Italy.
  4. Samuel Eto’o for his triumphs with the Barcelona shirt and with the historic Interista treble.
  5. Raul for his years at Real Madrid as captain and legend of the blancos.
  6. Steve Gerrard, (Steve Gerrard) for the Champions League comeback match against AC Milan in Instanbul.
  7. Gigi Buffon for his successes in Italy and the World Cup in 2006.
  8. Andres Iniesta snatched by Messi in 2010 after winning the World Cup.
  9. Paul Maldini, the legend of AC Milan, for his successes in Rossoneri.
  10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, simply because it is Zlatan with all its pros and cons.
  11. Xavi for his successes in Barcelona and for the World Cup won and the European Championships raised with Spain.
  12. Alessandro Del Piero, a symbol of Lippi’s Juventus that won in Europe and among the protagonists in the World Cup won by Italy in Germany.
  13. Ryan Giggs, Ryan for taking Manchester To the european rooftop with one of the crasughest Champions League finals ever against Bayern Munich.
  14. Javier Zanetti, Mourinho’s Inter flag that won everything in 2009.
  15. Francesco Totti for the Scudetto with Roma and for the World Cup with Italy in 2006.
  16. Frank Baresi for his successes with AC Milan and for leading the blue defense to USA94 despite a knee operation.
  17. Ferenc Puskas to which France Football incredibly preferred the less strong Luis Suarez, despite the most league goals scored in the European Cup in 1960 against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Who will be the future Ballon d’Or?

According to our predictions, but it is not that we need the magic ball, we see favorites of the following players:

  1. Kylian Mbappé
  2. Vinicius Junior
  3. Erling Handand
  4. Matthijs De Ligt
  5. Ousmane Dembelé
  6. Mark Asensio
  7. Lautaro Martinez
  8. Sandro Tonali
  9. Timo Werner
  10. Ansu Fates

Who do you think will win the next Ballon d’Or?