The Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious individual award in football. The race for football's top honour has been blown wide open this year. As opposed to previous years, there are no standout favourites who have much of an edge over the competition.
Ballon d'Or is decided via a voting system
So how is the Ballon d'Or winner picked? The winner is chosen via a voting system that consists of journalists, coaches and captains. They vote for their first, second and third best player of the calendar year. Votes for first place fetches five points. Votes for second place get three points and votes for third place get one.
The number of voters has increased in recent times and players accumulate more points these days than they used to in past Ballon d'Or races. YouTuber StatsTube has calculated how many points each nominated player received between 1956 and 2019.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the five players with the most Ballon d'Or points in history.
#5 Virgil van Dijk - 679 points
Going back to the point we made in the introduction, the number of voters have increased substantially in the Ballon d'Or race in recent times. Virgil van Dijk makes the top five on the list without ever having won the Ballon d'Or.
He did come close to winning it in 2019 and gave Lionel Messi a run for his money. Van Dijk had won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool in the 2018-19 season. He was a colossus at the back for the Merseysiders and held the fort down for Jurgen Klopp's men.
He did win the UEFA Men's Player of the Year and the PFA Players' Player of the Year award in 2019. The Dutchman also finished second in the 2019 FIFA Men's Best Player Award.
#4 Zinedine Zidane - 715 points
Zinedine Zidane is one of the most elegant players to have ever graced the game. Zizou led France to World Cup glory in 1998 and won the Ballon d'Or that year as well. He continued to be a dominant presence at the heart of midfield for France for almost a decade more and retired at the peak of his powers in 2006.
Zidane also finished third in the 1997 Ballon d'Or race. The Frenchman has won the FIFA Player of the Year Award thrice in his career. He won it in 1998, 2000 and 2003.