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5 most undeserved Ballon d'Or winners in history

The Ballon d
The Ballon d'Or is the highest individual honour in football.
ANALYST
Modified 20 Jan 2021
Feature

The Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious individual award a player can win in football.

It is awarded annually to the standout footballer of the year and has been held by some of the greatest players of all time like Johann Cruyff, Ronaldinho, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to name a few.

Five most undeserving Ballon d'Or winners:

There have been many great players who haven't won the coveted Ballon d'Or award even though they were seemingly more deserving than the eventual winner.

On that note, we take a look at the five most undeserving Ballon d'Or winners in the history of the award.


#5 Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid/Italy) - 2006

Fabio Cannavaro was one of the world
Fabio Cannavaro was one of the world's greatest centre-backs.

Fabio Cannavaro was undoubtedly one of the best centre-backs in the world in 2006. He captained Italy to a FIFA World Cup win that year and was a defensive stalwart at the back for the Azzurri.

However, Cannavaro was part of an Italian backline that was seen as one of the greatest of all time. That's why his win came as a shock to some people, as they believed the man playing in goal behind Cannavaro - Gianluigi Buffon - deserved the award more than the defender did.

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Buffon was arguably the best goalkeeper in the world at that time, putting in multiple match-winning displays and conceding only two goals during the tournament. His exploits for Italy during the 2006 FIFA World Cup were thought to be enough to warrant him the Ballon d'Or award, but that was not to be.


#4 Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia) - 2018

Luka Modric lea Croatia to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.
Luka Modric lea Croatia to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.
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Without undermining any of Luka Modric's achievements in 2018, the Croatian midfielder did not deserve to win the Ballon d'Or award that year.

Granted he captained Croatia to the final at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but Modric's goal-contributions to club and country did not warrant him the award ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

That's not to take away from Modric's heroics at the quadrennial tournament, where he undoubtedly did deserve the Golden Ball. But the Croatian had a rather moot year for Real Madrid, scoring only twice and assisting eight goals in 43 games in 2017-18.

In contrast, his competitior for that year's Ballon d'Or award, Cristiano Ronaldo bagged 44 goals and eight assists in 44 appearances for Real Madrid in 2017-18. Another competitor, Lionel Messi finished fifth in the 2018 Ballon d'Or voting, had 45 goals and 18 assists in 54 appearances for Barcelona that season.

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Published 20 Jan 2021, 17:58 IST
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