Ballon d’Or: Full list of winners from 1956 till date

Ballon d’Or: Full list of winners from 1956 till date

The Ballon d’Or (also known as the Golden Ball) is an annual football award presented to the best player of the year by France Football (a French news magazine). The Ballon d’Or is one of the oldest individual awards in professional football and is generally regarded as the most prestigious individual award for football players. Since its inception in 1956, the Ballon d’Or has been won by many great players. Some have won it on multiple occasions.  

Brief Overview

The “Golden Ball” was originally awarded to the best European player each year but a change of rules in 1995 meant any footballer based in Europe was eligible. It was later opened to players in all leagues across the world in 2007. The Ballon d’Or was merged with the FIFA best player of the year award in 2010 when it was known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or but split back again in 2016. Stanley Matthews won the first edition of the Ballon d’Or in 1956 while playing for Blackpool before a brief period of Real Madrid dominance ensured that Alfredo Di Stefano (x2) and Raymond Kopa took the award to Spain. Luiz Suarez (the original) was the first Barcelona player to win the prestigious  in 1960 before Johan Cruyff won consecutive awards 1973 & 1974 after his triumph with Ajax in 1971 making him the first player to win three Ballons d’Or. Michel Platini of Juventus was the first player to win the Ballon d’Or in 3 consecutive years while Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won 4 Ballons d’Or on the bounce.  

Lionel Messi - 7 Ballon d'Or Wins

Lionel Messi is the player with the most wins in Ballon d’Or history! The Argentine has won the award on 7 occasions. His most recent triumph coming in 2021. He is closely followed by eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo who has 5 Golden balls. 

In total, the Golden Ball has been awarded 64 times since its inception and Spanish clubs have produced the most winners with a staggering 23 Ballons d’Or shared between Real Madrid and Barcelona players. Italian clubs hold the second most wins in Ballon d’Or history with a total of 18 wins while Bundesliga sides have produced 9 winners. 

Why the 2020 Golden Ball award was canceled

The award did not be held in 2020. It was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic that swept across the globe. It 


Englishman Stanley Matthews was the first player to win the Ballon d’Or. He won it in 1956.

  • First winner —Stanley Matthews
  • Current holder — Lionel Messi
  • Most wins — Messi (7)
  • Most consecutive wins — Messi (4)
  • Clubs with most wins — Barcelona (12)
  • Countries with most wins: Argentina, Portugal, Netherlands, Germany/West Germany — (7)
  • Leagues with most wins — La Liga (23)

Full list of Ballon d’Or winners since 1956:


Cont’d: Full list of Ballon d’Or winners since 1956 


Cont’d: Full list of Ballon d’Or winners since 1956

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or 5 times. He is second only to Lionel Messi who has 7 Golden Balls!


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