The Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious individual honour in world football and is reserved for only the greatest that the game has ever seen.
Only 45 players have ever got their hands on the coveted trophy, with just 10 managing to win the award on multiple occasions. Here we will take a look at the five players who have been awarded the trophy most times.
We take a look at the top five below.
Lionel Messi – 8
Lionel Messi has the most wins in the history of the Ballon d’Or with eight, three more than Cristiano Ronaldo back in second with five.
Messi is the only Argentinian to have won the Ballon d’Or, but Argentina are still the winning-most nation with Messi having won the award more times than any of the countries to have had multiple winners.
Messi picked up his first Ballon d’Or award back in 2009. This would be the start of Messi’s Ballon d’Ominance as he would become the only player to win four in a row, also picking up the award in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Messi is also the current holder of the award having beaten Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to the title after he captained Argentina to a memorable World Cup win.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 5
Cristiano Ronaldo has been in a constant rivalry with Lionel Messi throughout his career, and those two’s chokehold on the award is emphasised by the fact that Ronaldo has five wins to his name, taking their total as a pairing to 13 wins across the 15 awards since Ronaldo kickstarted their streak in 2008.
Ronaldo has won the award at two different clubs, his first coming at Manchester United in 2008, with the other four coming for Real Madrid as the Galacticos dominated European football, winning three Champions Leagues between Ronaldo’s first and last Ballon d’Or win at the club.
Ronaldo is two clear of the next on the list, but he does hold one record in having been runner up a record six times for the award. Four of these times he was behind his great rival, finishing behind Kaka and Luka Modric the other two times, with many believing he was more deserving than Modric for the award in 2018.
Michel Platini – 3
Michel Platini is an icon of European football from the 1980’s, with the Frenchman picking up all three of his awards in consecutive years from 1983-85.
Platini is one of the best footballers of all-time and that status was cemented when he ranked seventh in the voting for FIFA Player of the Century. Platini has a plethora of individual and team honours to show for his career and also picked up the Player of the Tournament award at the 1984 European Championships.
Platini embodied the number 10 role with his incredible passing ability as well as his speed and intelligence which saw him drift past players with the ball as if they weren’t even there.
Johan Cruyff – 3
Johan Cruyff is one of the biggest names in the history of football, excelling in both management and on the pitch, he revolutionised the game.
Cruyff is widely regarded as one of the most intelligent and technically gifted players of all time, often being deployed in the number 10 role or playing just off of the main striker. It was in these roles that Cruyff won three Ballon d’Or awards in four years from 1971-74, with only Franz Beckenbauer besting him in 1972.
Cruyff’s football legacy will remain in the history books forever, and his name will always be synonymous with ‘Total Football’. With his own skill move in the infamous ‘Cruyff turn’, the Dutchman is a figure that will never be forgotten.
Marco van Basten – 3
Marco van Basten is the only out and out number nine on this list, with his incredible goal scoring record earning him three Ballon d’Or awards between 1988 and 1992.
Van Basten is often not given the credit he deserves and is rarely mentioned in conversations around the best players of all time, but he is without doubt one of the best strikers of all time. in a similar vein to other great strikers like Ronaldo Nazario, van Basten’s career was hampered by injuries.
In his 373-match career van Basten found the back of the net 277 times, as well as assisting a further 82 goals – averaging a goal or assist every 87 minutes. The Dutch talisman has a lot to show for these stats, picking up three league titles with both Ajax an AC Milan, as well as landing the 1988 European Championships with the Netherlands.
Check out all the latest football offers from William Hill