Ranking England's 4 Ballon d'Or winners

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

The English Premier League is arguably the most competitive and talent-rich footballing league on the planet. Unfortunately, the quality of the league is yet to have an impact on the country’s Ballon d’Or winners’ tally.

20 years since its last Ballon d’Or win, the country is desperate to see the rise of a new challenger. England need a player who will not only be ruthless but will also be able to inspire a generation of world-class talents. That is at least what the four Ballon d’Or winners have done.

Here is how England’s Ballon d’Or winners stack up against one another:

#4 Michael Owen

Villa v Liverpool x
Villa v Liverpool x

Fans in Spain tend to remember Michael Owen as a failed Galactico, a prospect who did not thrive at Real Madrid. But Liverpool fans and the England faithful fondly remember the striker who flourished at Anfield, winning the Ballon d’Or in 2001 as a 22-year-old.

Under Liverpool manager and legend Gerrard Houllier, Owen emerged as one of the best centre-forwards in the Premier League. He was quick off the block, had the stamina to chase down balls, and was never tired of having a go at goal.

It was Owen’s tenacity that gave Liverpool the edge, as was prominent in the 2000-2001 season.

#OnThisDay November 10th 1998. League Cup: 4th Round.Liverpool 1-3 Tottenham HotspurOwen (81). Iversen (2) Scales (20) Nielsen (62)

Influenced by Owen’s late FA Cup final brace against Arsenal, Liverpool won a treble of the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the UEFA Cup. It was not as prestigious as the regular Champions League, league, and domestic cup treble, of course, but it was enough for the ultimate prize.

Owen, who netted 24 goals in 46 games in the 2000-01 season, won the Ballon d’Or, becoming the last English player to win the prestigious accolade.

#3 Sir Stanley Matthews

Sir Stanley Matthews in action for England
Sir Stanley Matthews in action for England

Sir Stanley Matthews is widely hailed as one of the best players in the history of English football. He only played for two clubs, Stoke City and Blackpool, excelling as a forward at both teams.

Matthews was the definition of a complete forward. He could dribble better than anyone around, score outrageous goals, and he also was an excellent crosser of the ball.

The great Franz Beckenbauer considered Matthews to be one of the best in the business, saying it was almost impossible to stop the Englishman.

Stanley Matthews of Blackpool and England

Matthews is the only footballer in history to be knighted while being an active player. He is also the oldest player in history to play in England's top football division (50 years) and to represent the country (42.3 years).

Matthews was also the first player to win the Ballon d’Or, winning the accolade during his time with Blackpool in 1956.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar

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