Sometimes, the best players do not win the Ballon d’Or. That could be based off of a number of reasons.
For one, the Ballon d’Or seems to be tied to success through trophies. For instance, the last seven Ballon d’Or winners won either the UEFA Champions League or an international trophy. No one denies that these competitions pull the best out of players.
The UEFA Champions League has the best teams and the biggest names. Seeing a certain player boss the competition makes him stand out. The same applies to the World Cup, European Championship or Copa America.
However, those are team successes, while the Ballon d’Or is an individual award. Over the course of the Ballon d’Or’s history, a number of fantastic players never won the illustrious award. Now, we want to know who you think is the best player to not win the Ballon d’Or.
The best player to not win the Ballon d’Or
There are some things to keep in mind. Up until 1995, the Ballon d’Or did not include any players born outside Europe. That year, voting included players from any country so long as they played for a European club. In 2007, voting expanded yet again to include any player from any club across FIFA’s confederations.
Therefore, players like Pele and Diego Maradona were ineligible. To commemorate 60 years of the award, FIFA and UEFA released a list of winners from countries outside of Europe that should have won in certain years. That list included Pele seven times, Maradona twice and two more Brazilians and and Argentine.
Still, the Messi-Ronaldo era prevented a number of fantastic seasons from earning recognition as best player of the year. Wesley Sneijder’s 2010 season fit the bill of a Ballon d’Or winner, but he was not nominated. Thierry Henry, despite dominating the Premier League, never won the award. Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta and Xavi perhaps propped up their teammate, Lionel Messi, to his Ballon d’Or wins.
These are just examples over the last 20 years. The award dates back to 1956, and some of the world’s biggest talents failed to lift the trophy.
PHOTO: Manu Reino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
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