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 have been won by many great players. Some have won it on multiple occasions. Ballon d'Or winners since 1956

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 won his 7th Ballon d'Or in 2021
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 closing followed by eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo who has 5 Golden ball. 

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 cancelled

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


Stanley Matthews
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:

1956Stanley MatthewsBlackpoolEngland
1957Alfredo Di StefanoReal MadridSpain
1958Raymond KopaReal MadridFrance
1959Alfredo Di StefanoReal MadridSpain
1960Luis SuarezBarcelonaSpain
1961Omar SivoriJuventusItaly
1962Josef MasopustDukla PragueCzechoslovakia
1963Lev YashinDynamo MoscowSoviet Union
1964Denis LawManchester UnitedScotland
1966Bobby CharltonManchester UnitedEngland
1967Florian AlbertFerencvarosHungary
1968George BestManchester UnitedNorthern Ireland
1969Gianni RiveraAC MilanItaly
1970Gerd MullerBayern MunichWest Germany
1971Johan CruyffAjaxNetherlands
1972Franz BeckenbauerBayern MunichWest Germany
1973Johan CruyffBarcelonaNetherlands
1974Johan CruyffBarcelonaNetherlands
1975Oleg BlokhinDynamo KyivSoviet Union
1976Franz BeckenbauerBayern MunichWest Germany
1977Allan SimonsenBorussia MonchengladbachDenmark
List of Ballon d'Or winners continues below

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

1978Kevin KeeganHamburgEngland
1979Kevin KeeganHamburgEngland
1980Karl-Heinz RummeniggeBayern MunichWest Germany
1981Karl-Heinz RummeniggeBayern MunichWest Germany
1982Paolo RossiJuventusItaly
1983Michel PlatiniJuventusFrance
1984Michel PlatiniJuventusFrance
1985Michel PlatiniJuventusFrance
1986Igor BelanovDynamo KyivSoviet Union
1987Ruud GullitAC MilanNetherlands
1988Marco van BastenAC MilanNetherlands
1989Marco van BastenAC MilanNetherlands
1990Lothar MatthäusInter MilanGermany
1991Jean-Pierre PapinMarseilleFrance
1992Marco van BastenAC MilanNetherlands
1993Roberto BaggioJuventusItaly
1994Hristo StoichkovBarcelonaBulgaria
1995George WeahMilanLiberia
1996Matthias SammerBorussia DortmundGermany
1997RonaldoInter MilanBrazil
1998Zinedine ZidaneJuventusFrance
List of Ballon d'Or winners continues below

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

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

2000Luís FigoReal MadridPortugal
2001Michael OwenLiverpoolEngland
2002RonaldoReal MadridBrazil
2003Pavel NedvědJuventusCzech Republic
2004Andriy ShevchenkoAC MilanUkraine
2006Fabio CannavaroReal MadridItaly
2007KakáAC MilanBrazil
2008Cristiano RonaldoManchester UnitedPortugal
2009Lionel MessiBarcelonaArgentina
2010Lionel MessiBarcelonaArgentina
2011Lionel MessiBarcelonaArgentina
2012Lionel MessiBarcelonaArgentina
2013Cristiano RonaldoReal MadridPortugal
2014Cristiano RonaldoReal MadridPortugal
2015Lionel MessiBarcelonaArgentina
2016Cristiano RonaldoReal MadridPortugal
2017Cristiano RonaldoReal MadridReal Madrid
2018Luka ModricReal MadridCroatia
2019Lionel MessiBarcelonaArgentina
2020Cancelled due to global pandemic
2021Lionel MessiParis St Germain Argentina
List of Ballon d'Or winners continues below

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