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4 legends who deserved to win the Ballon d'Or

Scott Newman
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 16:14 IST

On the path of Cristiano Ronaldo in Madeira
On the path of Cristiano Ronaldo in Madeira

In terms of individual honours, there’s no bigger prize in football than the Ballon d’Or. First awarded by France Football back in 1956, it was initially for European players only, but in 1995 it was expanded to include all players at European clubs, and the list of winners reads like a who’s who of football history.

Names like Charlton, Beckenbauer, Baggio, Matthaus and Zidane have won the award, while modern-day legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have won it five times each. Not all football legends have won the Ballon d’Or, though – even though they maybe should’ve done.

Here are 5 legends of the game who deserved to win the Ballon d’Or:

#1 Andres Iniesta

Netherlands v Spain: 2010 FIFA World Cup Final
Even scoring the winning goal in a World Cup final couldn't net Andres Iniesta the Ballon d'Or

Spanish legend Andres Iniesta – who recently departed Barcelona after spending his whole career at the Nou Camp – has won it all over the course of the last 15 years or so. He’s won the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain, nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copa del Reys with Barcelona, and he’s been awarded countless individual awards.

Somehow though, he’s never won the Ballon d’Or. The reason, unfortunately for Iniesta, is pretty clear; during his peak years of 2008 onwards, the world game has been thoroughly dominated by his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and his heated rival Cristiano Ronaldo. Since 2008 no other player has won the Ballon d’Or.

But is this really fair to a player the calibre of Iniesta? A man who scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final after starring during the game – he was named Man of the Match – as well as the preceding games in the tournament? 2010’s Ballon d’Or went to Messi, but he didn’t perform nearly as well in South Africa and both men won La Liga with Barca in 2009/10.

Iniesta, as a matter of fact, came second in the Ballon d’Or voting in 2010 – gaining 17.36% of the votes compared to Messi’s 22.65% - but in reality, the Spanish midfielder probably should’ve won it.

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Published 06 Jun 2018, 17:26 IST
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