3 Players who should have won the Ballon d'Or in the past but didn't
The Ballon d'Or was first introduced in 1956. There have been 25 recipients of the award till date and almost all the true greats of the game have won the award. It is a very prestigious award and the eventual winner has always had to face stiff competition before winning.
For the last decade or so, however, the Ballon d’Or has become a two-horse race as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have split the honors since 2008. Both have won the award on five occasions each and it has almost lost its charm to an extent because of the predictable outcome.
It is by no means Messi’s or Ronaldo’s fault and the authenticity of the award cannot be doubted either as the top footballers and coaches cast their votes to decide the winner. The Ballon d'Or is, by all means, the most prestigious and prized footballing award and hence, there have been some occasions when we could make a case for a player other than the winner, who was equally deserving of winning the award.
Let's take a look at three players who should have won this award but could not do so.
#1 Xavi Hernandez
For more than a decade, Xavi remained the engine that used to run the well-oiled machine that is known as FC Barcelona. Xavi might well be the greatest ever player in the position he played.
He was a central midfielder who dictated terms in the midfield and controlled the tempo of the game with his touches and passes. He was the time-and-space expert in the free-flowing passing game of Barcelona which made him the conductor of the orchestra.
He had a terrific 2008-09 season as Barca won the treble and Spain won the European Cup in 2008. He scored a goal in that tournament, too. It would be relevant to mention here that Xavi was equally good for the Spanish national team also.
He scored 10 goals in 54 matches for Barcelona in the 2008-09 season, seven more goals in 53 matches in the 2009-10 season and should probably have won the award in either of those two seasons.
However, he finished 3rd in the final ranking on both occasions. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were voted 1st and 2nd respectively in 2008-09 and Messi and Andres Iniesta were voted 1st and 2nd respectively in 2009-10. Xavi’s contribution could not be quantified always, but he remains an exceptional footballer to the connoisseurs of football.
It has to be mentioned that Xavi’s peak coincided with the rise of the peerless Messi and his Ballon d’Or winning chances suffered as a result. Whatever the reason might have been, Xavi might consider himself unlucky to have missed out on the award.