5 interesting facts about the Ballon d'Or award
The Ballon d’Or is one of the most popular and also one of the most acclaimed honors in the world of football. The award is generally reserved for the crème de la crème, the best of the best on the football pitch in the preceding year.
While previously the award was solely based upon the votes of reputed journalists associated with the game, since 2007, the responsibilities have been extended to national team coaches and captains too.
With every passing year the award has grown in stature, to the extent that it has a larger-than-life image at present.
The biggest day of the year is almost upon us. With the winner of the 2019 Ballon d’Or set to be announced very soon, we delve into the awards in detail and bring you five interesting facts about it.
#5 Only 10 players have won the award more than once
As if winning the award for the first time wasn’t hard enough, a handful of players have managed to win it more than once. However, this is an accomplishment that has been achieved by just 10 men to date, which puts them in a rare group.
The feat was first managed by the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano of Real Madrid. The Spaniard won the Ballon d’Or in 1957, finishing with 72 points. In 1959, Di Stefano was back at the top once again, this time with 80 points. In doing so, he became the first-ever footballer to win the award twice.
Just over a decade later, Johan Cruyff of Barcelona repeated the feat when he won the Ballon d’Or in 1971 and then again in 1973. The Dutchman went on to win his third Ballon d’Or in the following year.
At around the same time Franz Beckenbauer picked up two Ballon d’Or awards himself, in 1972 and 1976. At that point, there were still only a handful of players who had managed to be consistent enough to win the Ballon d’Or more than once.
Kevin Keegan, while playing for Hamburg, won his first Ballon d’Or award in 1978. In the following year he repeated the feat, etching his name in the history books as the only English footballer to win the award twice.
In 1980, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge took over the mantle from the Englishman, gathering 122 points in the process. The German won his second Ballon d’Or the following year, becoming only the fifth player to win the coveted prize more than once.
Michel Platini then made the award his own, winning the Ballon d’Or three years in succession from 1983.
Dutchman Marco van Basten’s time to rule the award arrived next, as he picked up three Ballon d’Or awards in 1989, 1990 and 1992. Brazilian sensation Ronaldo also joined the elite club by winning the Ballon d’Or twice, in 1997 and 2002.
Since then, two unbelievable footballers have joined the group – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both with five Ballon d’Or to their name. The Argentinean won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, while the Portuguese won his five in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.