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Top 10 Countries With Highest Numbers of Ballon d’Or Awards



By Balogun Kamilu Lekan

The Ballon d’Or is considered the most prestigious award in a footballer’s career, given to the best individual performer in a season. Sports writer Gabriel Hanot first conceived the idea of the Ballon d’Or, presented by the French news magazine France Football since its inception in 1956.

Initially, only European footballers were eligible to win the award, but it was opened up to players worldwide in 2007. From 2010 to 2015, FIFA and France Football jointly presented the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Below is a list of the top ten countries with the most Ballon d’Or winners

10. Spain – 3

Players awarded: Alfredo Di Stefano and Luis Suarez

Years won: 1957, 1959, 1960

Spain has three of the Ballon d’Or. Blancos legend Alfredo Di Stefano led Madrid to European success from 1955 to 1960. He won the award in 1957 and 1958

The second winner is the legendary Spanish-born Luis Suarez, who won it in 1960. However, he was the last Spaniard to win the award.

9. Soviet Union 3

Players awarded: Lev Yashin, Oleg Blokhin, Igor Belanov

Years won: 1963, 1975, 1986

Joint with Spain on 3 Ballon d’Or winners, the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, before its dissolution in 1991, had three Ballon d’Or winners. It is notable for producing the only goalkeeper ever to win the award, Lev Yashin. He won it in 1963.

Others are Oleg Blokhin, who won it in 1975, and Igor Belanov in 1986.

8. England – 4

Players awarded: Stanley Matthews, Bobby Charlton, Kevin Keegan, Michael Owen

Years won: 1956, 1966, 1978, 1979, 2001

English players, on five occasions, have won the prestigious award. The first recipient was Stanley Mathew, who won the inaugural Ballon d’Or in 1956. A Manchester United legend, Bobby Charlton became the second Englishman to win the award in 1966. Kevin Keegan, a two-time winner, claimed the prize in 1978 and 1979. Michael Owen was the most recent Englishman to win the award, achieving this feat in 2001 while at Liverpool.

7. Brazil – 4

Players awarded: Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka

Years won: 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007

Brazil is the country that has won the World Cup the most times (5) and has also earned five Ballon d’Or victories, which four different players claimed. Interestingly, Pele is not among those players, as it wasn’t until 1997 that Ronaldo scored the country’s first win in the award. 

In 1999 Rivaldo won the award. However, Ronaldo claimed the title again in 2002, followed by Ronaldinho and Kaka. 

6. Italy – 5 

Players awarded: Omar Sivori, Gianni Rivera, Paolo Rossi, Roberto Baggio, Fabio Cannavaro

Years won: 1961, 1969, 1982, 1993, 2006

Like Brazil and England, Italy has also earned the prestigious award five times, with five distinct players receiving the honor. 

In 1961, Omar Sivori was the first Italian to win the award. Gianni Rivera claimed the title eight years later, in 1969. Paolo Rossi became the third Italian to win the award when he secured it in 1982, followed by Roberto Baggio in 1993 and Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. 

5. France – 7

Players who have won the award: Raymond Kopa, Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, Zinedine Zidane, Karim Benzema

Years won: 1958, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1991, 1998, 2022

The 3rd edition of the award presented by France Football was claimed by a French national, Raymond Kopa, who became the first Frenchman to secure the title in 1958. Michel Platini, the former UEFA president, became the first player to win three consecutive awards when he earned the honor in 1983, 1984, and 1985.

Jean-Pierre Papin followed six years later as the next French international to win the award, with Zinedine Zidane winning in 1998.

The country hosts the current holder of the award, Karim Benzema, who won it in 2022

4. Netherlands – 7

Players who have won the award: Johan Cruyff, Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten

Years won: 1971, 1973, 1974, 1987, 1988, 1989. 1992

Only three Dutch players have claimed the honor despite seven Ballon d’Or wins. The legendary Johan Cruyff was the first Dutchman to receive the award in 1971, and he went on to secure it two more times in 1973 and 1974.

In 1987, Ruud Gullit became the second Dutch player to win the prestigious award. Gullit’s AC Milan and Dutch teammate, Marco Van Basten, claimed the title for two consecutive years in 1988 and 1989. Van Basten went on to add to his tally of two in 1992 when he secured the honor for the third time

3. Germany – 7

Players who have won the award: Gerd Muller, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Lothar Matthaus, Matthias Sammer

Years won: 1970, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1990, 1996

In 1970, Gerd Muller became the first German to win the award. Later, Franz Beckenbauer claimed the title twice in 1972 and 1976, making him the second German to do so. He also became the first defender to earn the prestigious Ballon d’Or.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge followed suit, securing the award in 1980 and 1981, with Lothar Matthaus adding another to Germany’s tally nine years later in 1990, bringing the total to six. Matthias Sammer was the most recent German winner, receiving the honor in 1996.

2. Portugal – 7

Players who have won the award: Eusebio, Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo

Years won: 1965, 2000, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

Portugal has earned a place at the top of the list alongside Germany and the Netherlands, with seven Ballon d’Or winners. Eusebio became the first Portuguese player to secure the award when he won it in 1965, with Luis Figo following suit in 2000 as the second Portuguese winner. Since then, Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world’s best players, has won it five times, bringing Portugal’s total to seven.

Ronaldo claimed his first Ballon d’Or in 2008, igniting the famous Messi-Ronaldo battle for the award. After waiting five years, he secured his next win in 2013 and claimed the honor again in 2014. Ronaldo’s final two Ballon d’Or awards came in 2016 and 2017.

1. Argentina – 7

Players who have won the award: Lionel Messi

Years won: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021

One of four nations to have won the Ballon d’Or seven times, Argentina tops the lot since Messi has won all seven.

For a nation that is so rich in footballing history and birthed some of the most extraordinary footballers the game has witnessed, it is only Messi who has been able to bring the award home. Not even Diego Maradona could manage it.


The information in this article was curated from online sources. NewsWireNGR or its editorial team cannot independently verify all details.

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