3 defenders who have won the Ballon d'Or
The Ballon d'Or is perhaps the most prestigious award in football, bestowed on the best footballer of the year. Every player dreams of getting their hands on the coveted trophy once in their lifetime, but the trophy does not belong to the average footballer. The Ballon d'Or only graces the hands of the excellent, the one above the rest, the best among the millions around. However, since its inauguration, the award has not been kind to defenders and goalkeepers.
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The legendary Lev Yashin remains the only goalkeeper to have won the award, but defenders have not fared too well either, with only three defenders getting their hands on the distinguished trophy till date. This year, even though Luka Modric is the favourite, Frenchman Rafael Varane has an outside chance of becoming the first defender in 12 years to win the award. Having won the 2018 World Cup and the Champions League, the French defender will be hoping that he has done enough.
As the world gears up to the possibility of Varane lifting the Ballon d'Or for the first time in his career, we take a look at the 3 footballers that modern-day defenders look up to and idolize. Read on to find out the only 3 defenders in the world who have won the Ballon d'Or.
#3 Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
The Italian had a fabulous 2005/06 season, where he along with Buffon and Thuram formed a formidable defensive partnership that powered Juventus to the second Serie A title in two years. In the summer of 2006, Cannavaro captained the Italy team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where his leadership qualities and defensive discipline gained worldwide fame. The Italian guided his country to the final of the World Cup against France and lifted the trophy at the end of an eventful night. It was an incredible achievement for a player who was already on the rise.
Cannavaro joined Real Madrid over the summer and won the FIFA World Player of the year later that year. He finished with 498 points at the end of the voting process, beating the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho to become the best player of the year. On 27th November 2006, the Italian became on the third defender in the history of the game to win the Ballon d'Or award. His fellow countryman Buffon finished second, while French striker Thierry Henry finished third. As of now, he is the last defender to win the title.