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5 players who lifted the Ballon d'Or without winning the Champions League

ANALYST
Feature
16 May 2019, 11:07 IST

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga
FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga

France Football's prestigious Ballon d'Or has almost become synonymous with five-time winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, owing to their duopoly over the award in the last decade.

Of course, this changed when Real Madrid's Luka Modric was presented with the coveted prize for his contribution to Los Blancos' Champions League victory and Croatia's FIFA World Cup journey last year.

With club football nearing its end in Europe, predictions regarding the winner of this year's Ballon d'Or have begun surfacing in the media. Recently, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was credited with saying the winner of the Ballon d'Or should come from a Champions League winning team.

Although the Premier League champion has dismissed the quotes as false, much of the recent decisions regarding football's most prestigious award have been made with the Champions League in mind.

In the past, however, there have been an array of players who did not win the Champions League but went on to lift the Ballon d'Or in the same year. Here we take a look at five of those Ballon d'Or winners in no particular order:

#5 Ronaldo Nazario (1997 and 2002)

Real Madrid training
Real Madrid training

Brazilian icon Ronaldo Nazario was presented with the Ballon d'Or award twice in his career. The legendary striker won the prize when he was at Inter Milan in 1997 and during his stint with Real Madrid in 2002.

Known as 'The Phenomenon', Ronaldo established himself as one of the greatest goal-scorers in the game, winning several domestic and international titles in his career. Among the competitions he has won are the La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Intercontinental Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, and the FIFA World Cup.

Despite all his achievements, however, the one title that eluded the Brazilian was the Champions League. The closest the two-time Ballon d'Or winner came to winning Europe's most elite title was during Real Madrid's semi-final clash against Juventus in 2003.

During his 1997 Ballon d'Or win, Ronaldo did not even play in the Champions League, a fact that seems unthinkable in the present era.




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