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10 great players who never won the Ballon d’Or

Ben Winfield
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FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2014
Messi and Ronaldo are two of the greatest players in football history

In recent years, we have seen the Ballon d’Or dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, they have won each of the last ten awards, rewriting every record in the books during their careers.

There is a chance that this could be the first year since 2007 - when Kaka took the award home - that someone other than Messi or Ronaldo wins the Ballon d’Or. This year, Luka Modric is favorite to be named the best player in the world, ahead of Messi and Ronaldo.

No pair have dominated the award in the way Messi and Ronaldo have over recent years. Each has won five awards, as well as coming runner-up on five occasions. No other player has won it more than three times, with Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten all winning the award thrice. 

This era of unprecedented dominance from Messi and Ronaldo has meant that a number of genuinely world class players, who would in other eras be revered as one of the best players of their generation, have missed out on the top award. Obviously, they have been appreciated by fans, but their name hasn’t quite gone down in the record books the way Messi and Ronaldo’s names will go down.

Here are ten great players who have never won a Ballon d’Or, but may have been deserving of one.

#1 Gianluigi Buffon

Juventus v AS Monaco - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg
Buffon will go down as one of Juventus' greatest players

Only one goalkeeper has won a Ballon d’Or during its 62-year history, and that came in 1963, when Dynamo Moscow goalkeeper Lev Yashin, playing for what was then the Soviet Union, won the award. He is regarded as the greatest goalkeeper of all time, and there can’t be many arguments. Of the current era, we haven’t seen many better ‘keepers than Gianluigi Buffon. 

Buffon has enjoyed an incredible amount of success during his career, particularly at club level. He captained Juventus to the Serie A on seven consecutive occasions, with the final one being last season, at the end of which he left the club for PSG. He was also part of Italy’s World Cup-winning squad in 2006, his only major international honour. One medal missing from his collection, is the Champions League. Juventus have finished as runners-up in two of the last four seasons, and had he won one of those, he may have taken home the Ballon d’Or. He came fourth in 2017, one of the years his side were beaten in the final of Europe’s premier club competition. 

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Ben Winfield
19 year old student journalist, support Yeovil Town
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