Each winner of football’s highest individual honor

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Since its inception in 1956, the Ballon d’Or has established itself as the most prestigious individual award in world football.

The golden trophy was the idea from France Football’s lead newspaper writer Gabriel Hanot, who asked his media colleagues to choose the best football player in Europe that year.

There have been some adjustments over the years that have followed – players from all over the world are now eligible for one – as well as some new brands. However, the basic concept has remained untouched.

So far, 25 players have won the Ballon d’Or, with the following awarded the honor of being the individual football player on the planet …

1956 – Stanley Matthews (Blackpool)1957 – Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid)1958 – Raymond Kopa (Real Madrid)1959 – Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid)1960 – Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

1961 – Omar Sivori (Juventus)1962 – Josef Masopust (Dukla Prague)1963 – Lev Yashin (Dynamo Moscow)1964 – Denis Law (Manchester United)1965 – Eusebio (Benfica)

1966 – Bobby Charlton (Manchester United)1967 – Florian Albert (Ferencvaros)1968 – George Best (Manchester United)1969 – Gianni Rivera (Milan)1970 – Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich)

1971 – Johan Cruyff (Ajax)1972 – Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich)1973 – Johan Cruyff (Barcelona)1974 – Johan Cruyff (Barcelona)1975 – Oleg Blokhin (Dynamo Kiev)

1976 – Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich)1977 – Allan Simonsen (Borussia Mönchengladbach)1978 – Kevin Keegan (Hamburg)1979 – Kevin Keegan (Hamburg)1980 – Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich)

1981 – Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich)1982 – Paolo Rossi (Juventus)1983 – Michel Platini (Juventus)1984 – Michel Platini (Juventus)1985 – Michel Platini (Juventus)

1986 – Igor Belanov (Dynamo Kiev)1987 – Ruud Gullit (Milan)1988 – Marco van Basten (Milan)1989 – Marco van Basten (Milan)1990 – Lothar Matthaus (Inter)

1991 – Jean-Pierre Papin (Marseille)1992 – Marco van Basten (Milan)1993 – Roberto Baggio (Juventus)1994 – Hristo Stoichkov (Barcelona)1995 – George Weah (Milan)

1996 – Matthias Sammer (Borussia Dortmund)1997 – Ronaldo (Inter)1998 – Zinedine Zidane (Juventus)1999 – Rivaldo (Barcelona) 2000 – Luis Figo (Real Madrid)

2001 – Michael Owen (Liverpool)2002 – Ronaldo (Real Madrid)2003 – Pavel Nedved (Juventus)2004 – Andriy Shevchenko (Milan)2005 – Ronaldinho (Barcelona)

2006 – Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid)2007 – Kaka (Milan)2008 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)2009 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)2010 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2011 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)2012 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)2013 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)2014 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)2015 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2016 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)2017 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)2018 – Luka Modric (Real Madrid)2019 – Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

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It’s a lot of gold / Kristy Sparow / GettyImages

Lionel Messi has won the award a record six times. His closest competitor is longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo who has five.

Further down the list, Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten are tied with three wins each, while Franz Beckenbauer, Ronaldo, Alfredo Di Stefano, Kevin Keegan and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have two Ballons d’Or in their name.

The youngest recipient of the Ballon d’Or ever is Ronaldo, who won the award at just 21 years old in 1997.

It was a recognition of an incredible debut season at Inter that saw the then most expensive player in the world – the Nerazzurri paid Barcelona just £ 20 million for Ronaldo in 1996 – score 34 times in 47 games.

Three countries have won seven Ballon d’Or prizes: Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.

France and Argentina have also proved to be rewarding talent producers, with six victories each, while Italy, Brazil and England have all made five victories.

Barcelona is no stranger to a Ballon d’Or winner / LLUIS GENE / GettyImages

No club has produced more Ballon d’Or wins than Barcelona. Six different Blaugrana stars have won the award 12 times between them, once more than what the seven honored Real Madrid players have done.

Away in Italy, both Juventus and Milan have given six different winners who have won the Ballon d’Or eight times in total.

Bayern Munich is next on the list with five wins from three players, while Manchester United has received four different winners.

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