10 Essential Ballon d'Or facts that you need to know
The Ballon d'Or awards return this Monday and with that, the whole world will come to know who has been this year's best player.
Ballon d'Or is one of the biggest individual awards in sports and the winner of this award is often seen as the best football player in the world at that moment.
This year, though the usual excitement about the who the winner is going to be is there, some of the players who can be snubbed for the award are also generating a lot of buzz.
For the first time in a decade, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are said to be out of contention for claiming the Golden Ball and the chances are that host David Ginola will be announcing a new winner from the podium in Paris this year.
Whether Ronaldo or Messi claim their sixth Ballon d'Or or a new player is crowned the winner, it is clear that this year's ceremony is going to be a historical one.
So, with that being said, we present to you the 10 must-know facts that you need to know about the history of Ballon d'Or awards.
#1 Lionel Messi has made it into the Top 3 more times than any other player
We all know that Lionel Messi was the first player in history to win the Ballon d'Or 5 times in his career.
He made it into the top 3 of the awards for the first time in 2007 and since then has found himself among the top 3 players at every single edition of the event, taking home the trophy 5 times in the same period.
With 11 top 3 finishes, he has made one extra appearance in the list than Cristiano Ronaldo who missed out on a top 3 spot in 2010.
#2 The first ever Ballon d'Or was won by an English player
Only 4 English players have ever won the coveted trophy, with Michael Owen being the last Englishman to claim the honour in 2001.
But, it might be surprising to know that the inaugural winner of the Ballon d'Or was Blackpool's Stanley Matthews.
He was a lethal 'outside-right', a position similar to that of a right-winger in modern football. After he led his side to a second placed finish in the English first division having scored 3 goals in the process, he narrowly defeated Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stéfano 47 to 44 in the poll to claim the European Footballer of the Year Award, as it was known back then.