FIFA Ballon d'Or winners list

Former "European Footballer of the Year" award

FIFA Ballon d’Or is the highest level individual award in football. The award is given to the best football player in the world every year. The award started in the year 1956 when it was popularly known as the European Best Player Award where only players from Europe were eligible for the award hence its name.

In 1995 the rules were changed where every player who played for the European clubs could win. In the year 2009 the award was merged with the FIFA best player award and became the FIFA Ballon d’Or which could be won by any footballer in the world. The winner is known through a jury and selection process, national team coaches and captains and one specialist journalist can vote for the three nominees. The player who garners most points gets the award. Listed below are the winners of this prestigious award.

Stanley MatthewsStanley Matthews
Year: 1956
Country: England
Club: Blackpool

Stanley Mathews is the inaugural winner of the award. He was Blackpool’s key first team member, despite the injury that restricted his league appearances. He was also an inaugural inductee to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 to honour his contribution to the English game. His final goal for Blackpool lead to the teams league victory over Tottenham Hotspur on 3 September 1956 at Bloomfield Road. They called him "The Wizard of the Dribble" and "The Magician".

Alfredo Di StefanoAlfredo Di Stefano
Years: 1957 and 1959
Country: Spain
Club: Real Madrid

Di Stefano was the inspiration behind the dominance of Real Madrid in Europe. His effort led to the club’s winning La Liga title and European cup in both years. Nicknamed "Saeta rubia" or "Blond Arrow", he is currently the sixth highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division, and Real Madrid's third highest league goalscorer of all time.

Raymond KopaRaymond Kopa
Year: 1958
Country: France
Club: Real Madrid

Raymond Kopa assisted his club to win the European Championship in the year 1958 and 1959. Known for his love of dribbling, Kopa was a playmaker, as well as a prolific scorer. In 1970 he became the first football player to receive the Légion d'honneur. He won three European Cups with the Real Madrid team of the 1950s.

Luis Suarez MiramontesLuis Suárez Miramontes
Year: 1960
Coutry: Spain
Club: Barcelona

Having played fantastic football in Europe, Luis Suarez of Barcelona became the first Spanish-born player to be voted as the Ballon d’Or winner. He was awarded 54 points , 17 points clear from Ferenc Puskas of Real Madrid who followed him at distant second. Suarez is regarded as one of Spain's greatest football players, he played significant role as creative inside forward or attacking midfielder for the great Barcelona team.

Omar SivoriOmar Sivori
Year: 1961
Country: Italy
Club: Juventus

Omar Sivori saved Juventus from a struggling season and seeing them win the 1957-58 Serie A cup; Omar displayed brilliant football throughout his career he appeared for the Argentine national team, winning the Copa América. In 1961, his hard work had paid off and he was named European Footballer of the Year also known as Ballon d'or.

Josef MasopustJosef Masopust
Year: 1962
Country: Czechoslovakia
Club: Dukia Prague

In 1962, Josef Masopust was playing as a midfielder for Czechoslovakia and his brilliant skills helped them reached the 1962 Football World Cup final. Masopust was capped 63 times, scoring 10 goals for his country and he was named the winner of Ballon d'Or in the same year. He was selected as Czechoslovakia's Golden Player by the Football Association of the Czech Republic as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.

Lev YashinLev Yashin
Year: 1963
Country: Soviet Union
Club: Dynamo Moscow

The Russian football goalkeeper was nicknamed as the black spider or the Black Panther due to his athleticism and reflex saves. To many, he is considered to be the greatest goalkeeper in the football history. Throughout his career, Lev made over 150 penalty saves and kept over 10 clean sheets. In 1963, he was awarded the Ballon d’Or award-becoming the first and only goalkeeper to have received the award.

Denis LawDenis Law
Year: 1964
Country: Scotland
Club: Manchester United

Law is a Scottish footballer who enjoyed a very successful career. In 1960, he was signed by Manchester City for a transfer fee of £55,000, which set a new British record. After two years, he then signed for Manchester United in 1962. Having helped Manchester United win their first league title by scoring 28 league goals, he became the winner of Ballon d'Or in 1964.

Year: 1965
Country: Portugal
Club: Benfica

Eusebio da Silva Ferreira is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time. Nicknamed the "Black Panther" because of his speed, technique, athleticism. Through his 9 fantastic goals, he helped Portugal reach third place in the 1966 World Cup. In 1965, while playing for Benfica, he gathered a total of 67 points and became the winner of Ballon d'Or.

Bobby CharltonBobby Charlton
Year: 1966
Country: England
Club: Manchester United

Bobby Charlton is a former football player who is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time. He played almost all of his club football at Manchester United. In 1966, he was one of the key players who helped England to win the 1966 World Cup award. His attacking instincts, passing abilities as well as dribbling capabilities saw him become the winner of Ballon d'Or in 1966.

Florian AlbertFlórián Albert
Year: 1967
Country: Hungary
Club: Ferencvarosi T C

Flórián Albert, nicknamed "The Emperor", was a Hungarian football player who is regarded as one of the most elegant and greatest footballers of all time. His amazing football capabilities saw him captured the Ballon d'Or in 1967 and he also won the Hungarian Championship with Ferencváros and collected the Hungarian Player of the Year title.

George BestGeorge Best
Year: 1968
Country: Northern Ireland
Club: Manchester United

George Best played as a winger for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team. In 1968, his amazing dribbling skills using both feet saw Manchester united win the European Cup. He was named as the winner of Ballon d'Or and FWA Footballer of the Year. He was described as the "greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland".

Gianni RiveraGianni Rivera
Year: 1969
Country: Italy
Club: Milan

Gianni Rivera is an Italian footballer who played a better part of his career for A.C Milan. He represented Italy 63 times, scoring 15 goals, and took part at four World Cups. Because of his passing accuracy and his adeptness at providing assists, he was regarded as one of the greatest Italian footballers of all time winning the Ballon d'Or award in 1969.  He was also a member of the first Italian side to win the European Football Championship in 1968.

Gerd MullerGerd Muller
Year: 1970
Country: Germany
Club: Bayern Munich

In 1970, Gerd Müller was named European Footballer of the Year after a successful season at Bayern Munich, and scoring 10 goals at the 1970 World Cup for West Germany where he received the Golden Boot as top goalscorer. A very skilled striker renowned for his clinical finishing, especially inside the penalty box, he is regarded as one of the football's greatest goalscorers.

Johan CruyffJohan Cruyff
Years: 1971, 1973 and 1974
Country: Netherlands
Club: Barcelona

Cruyff was one of the most famous exponents of the football philosophy known as Total Football explored by Rinus Michels. He led his country Netherlands in 1974 FIFA World Cup final where he received the Golden Ball as the most outstanding player of the tournament. He won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973 and 1974.

Franz BeckenbauerFranz Beckenbauer
Years: 1972 and 1976
Country: Germany
Club: Bayern Munich

Beckenbauer made his name as a central defender. Twice named European Footballer of the Year in 1972 and 1976, Beckenbauer appeared 103 times for West Germany and played in three FIFA World Cups. During his tenure at Bayern Munich, the club won three league championships in a row from 1972 to 1974.

Oleg BlokhinOleg Blokhin
Year: 1975
Country: Soviet Union
Club: Dynamo Kyiv

Blokhin competed for the Soviet Union at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games and 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups. He won the Soviet Footballer of the Year award three times and the Ukrainian Footballer of the Year award nine times. In 1975, he won the Ballon d'Or becoming the second Soviet and the first Ukrainian player to achieve such recognition.

Allan SimonsenAllan Simonsen
Year: 1977
Country: Denmark
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach

Simonsen holds the title of the only player to have scored in the UEFA cup, European Cup and the Cup Winners’ cup in the finals. During his career, he won the UEFA cup in 1975 and 1979. Simonsen played for Denmark at the 1972 Summer Olympics, 1984 European Championship and 1986 World Cup tournaments. He was named 1977 European Footballer of the Year.

Kevin KeeganKevin Keegan
Years: 1978 and 1979
Country: England
Club: Hamburger SV

During his stint at Hamburg, he was named European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979, won the Bundesliga title in 1978–79 and reached the European Cup final in 1980. Throughout his successful career, he has been described as "arguably the first superstar English player to attract the modern media spotlight".

RummeniggeKarl-Heinz Rummenigge
Years: 1980 amd 1981
Country: West Germany
Club: Bayern Munich

Nicknamed "King Kalle", Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was a member of the West Germany national team, his squad finished runner-up in the 1982 FIFA World Cup and at the 1986 World Cup. He helped his squad captured the 1980 European Championship title and was honoured twice as European Footballer of the Year in 1980 and 1981.

Paolo RossiPaolo Rossi
Year: 1982
Country: Italy
Club: Juventus

Rossi is widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian strikers of all time. He had a great run in 1982 where he led his country Italy to the 1982 FIFA World Cup title, scoring six goals and captured the Golden Boot as top goalscorer and the Golden Ball for the player of the tournament. In the same year, he was also awarded the Ballon d'Or as the European Footballer of the Year for his performance.

Michel PlatiniMichel Platini
Years: 1983, 1984 and 1985
Country: France
Club: Juventus

Platini was a member of the French national team that won the 1984 European Championship, a tournament in which he was the top goalscorer and voted the best player. He won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1983, 1984 and 1985. Nicknamed "Le Roi" (The King), he was regarded by many as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Igor BelanovIgor Belanov
Year: 1986
Country: Soviet Union
Club: Dynamo Kyiv

Belanov was at his best while playing for Dynamo Kyiv, winning five major titles and being named European Footballer of the Year in 1986. He represented the Soviet Union at one World Cup and one European Championship. He led the scoring charts at the 1985–86 UEFA Winners' Cup as his club captured the trophy for the second time.

Ruud GullitRuud Gullit
Year: 1987
Country: Netherlands
Club: AC Milan

Gullit was an attacking midifielder and a versatile footballer, playing in numerous positions throughout his career. He won three Serie A titles and two European Cups during his time with AC Milan. He won the Ballon d'Or in 1987 and the World Soccer Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989.

Marco van BastenMarco van Basten
Years: 1988, 1989 and 1992
Country: Netherlands
Club: AC Milan

Marco van Basten is known for his close ball control, attacking intelligence and spectacular strikes and volleys, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992 and won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1988, 1989 and 1992. Van Basten won, and was named player of the tournament at UEFA Euro 1988, scoring five goals that included a memorable volley in the final, he played for Netherlands against the Soviet Union.

Lothar MatthausLothar Matthaus
Year: 1990
Country: Germany
Club: Inter-Milan

Lothar Matthaus played in five FIFA World Cups (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998), more than any other outfield player in men's professional football, he also holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player with 25 games under his belt. In 1990, he was named European Footballer of the Year, after West Germany won the 1990 FIFA World Cup.

Jean-Pierre PapinJean-Pierre Papin
Year: 1991
Country: France
Club: Marseille

French striker Papin, achieved his greatest success while playing for Olympique Marseille between 1986 and 1992. He was known for his goalscoring, striking ability and volleys, which his fans nicknamed Papinades in his honour.  He also scored 30 goals for France in 54 matches. He was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1991.

Roberto BaggioRoberto Baggio
Year: 1993
Country: Italy
Club: Juventus

Roberto Baggio played for Italy in 56 games, scoring 27 goals. In 1993, he had his best personal record scoring 39 goals across all competitions, also helping his national team Italy qualify for the World Cup. His performances throughout the year earned him both the European Footballer of the Year and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Hristo StoichkovHristo Stoichkov
Year: 1994
Country: Bulgaria
Club: Barcelona

Stoichkov was the top goalscorer in Europe in 1990, receiving the European Golden Shoe in that year. He was an integral part of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team" that won four consecutive La Liga titles and one UEFA Champions League. He is regarded as one of the best players of his generation, he received the Ballon d'Or in 1994.

George WeahGeorge Weah
Year: 1995
Country: Liberia
Club: AC Milan

Liberian striker George Weah is highly regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time and of his generation, he signed for A.C. Milan in 1995 where he spent four very successful seasons, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or in the same year.

Matthias SammerMatthias Sammer
Year: 1996
Country: Germany
Club: Borussia Dortmund

Matthias Sammer was a versatile footballer who played as a defensive midfielder and later in his career as a sweeper. Sammer was phenomenal during his peak, he won the Bundesliga and DFL-Supercup in 1995, DFL-Supercup, and won the European Footballer of the Year in 1996, and also the UEFA Champions League and Intercontinental Cup in 1997.

Years: 1997 and 2002
Country: Brazil
Club: Inter Milan

Considered by many one of the best strikers of all time, Ronaldo played for Brazil in 98 matches, scoring 62 goals, and is the second highest goalscorer for his national team. He also won the Ballon d'Or twice, in 1997 and again in 2002.

Zinedine ZidaneZinedine Zidane
Year: 1998
Country: France
Club: Juventus

Zidane became a national hero France won the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Renowned for his elegance, vision, ball control and technique, Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. Zidane has won the FIFA World Player of the Year three times and the Ballon d'Or once.

Year: 1999
Country: Brazil
Club: Barcelona

Rivaldo Vítor Borba FerreiraHe won 1998 and 1999 La Liga championship. He was successful enough to lead the club win the 1998 Copa del Rey. He spent five years with Spanish club Barcelona and won the 1998 and 1999 Spanish La Liga championship and the 1998 Copa del Rey. He helped Brazil reach the final of the 1998 FIFA World Cup and in 1999 he won the Ballon d'Or and was named FIFA World Player of the Year.

Luis-Figo ballonLuis Figo
Year: 2000
Country: Portugal
Club: Real Madrid

Renowned for his creativity and having the ability to get past defenders, Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo is regarded as one of the greatest wingers of his generation. He scored three goals in eight qualifying games for UEFA Euro 1996. He also won the 2000 Ballon d'Or, 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year, and in 2004 was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.

Michael OwenMichael Owen
Year: 2001
Country: England
Club: Liverpool

Michael James Owen first played for the senior England team in 1998, becoming England's youngest player and youngest goalscorer at the time. In 2001, Owen was the recipient of the Ballon d'Or and he became the youngest player to have reached 100 goals in the Premier League.

Pavel NedvedPavel Nedved
Year: 2003
Country: Czech Republic
Club: Juventus

Winning the Ballon d'Or as European Footballer of the Year in 2003, Nedved was the second Czech player to receive the honour and the first since the breakup of Czechoslovakia. In 2003, 2004 and 2005 he was placed in “UEFA Team of the Year”. He was named by legendary Pele to be one of FIFA 100. He is also regarded as one of the most successful players to emerge from the Czech Republic.

Andriy ShevchenkoAndriy Shevchenko
Year: 2004
Country: Ukraine
Club: AC Milan

 Andriy Mykolayovych Shevchenko was pivotal in AC Milan winning the UEFA champions League in 2003. In 2003-04 Serie A League he emerged the top-goal scorer. He is ranked as the fifth top goalscorer in all European competitions with 67 goals. He won the UEFA Champions League in 2003 with Milan, and he has also won various league and cup titles in Ukraine, Italy, and England. He received the Ballon d'Or award in 2004.

Year: 2005
Country: Brazil
Club: Barcelona

Ronaldo de Assis Moreira commonly known as Ronaldinho,regarded to be one of the best players of his generation. He has played 97 matches and scored 33 goals for the Brazil national football team. He won La Liga twice, the UEFA Champions League in 2006, including the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 and the Ballon d'Or in 2005. He helped Brazil win the 2005 Confederations Cup title against Argentina. He was named the tournament’s all-time top scorer with 9 goals.

Fabio CannavaroFabio Cannavaro
Year: 2006
Country: Italy
Club: Juventus

Fabio Cannavaro is considered to be one of the greatest defenders of all time. He led Italy to victory in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and was named the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year, and won the Ballon d'Or award in 2006 which made him the only defender to win the award in a decade. He spent the majority of his career in Italy.

Year: 2007
Country: Brazil
Club: AC Milan

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite commonly known as Kaká, made his debut for the Brazil national team in 2002, and was selected for their victorious World Cup squad that year. He won a Serie A title and the UEFA Champions League, and in 2007 he received the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or awards.

Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo
Years: 2008, 2013 and 2014
Country: Portugal
Clubs: Manchester United ('08), Real Madrid ('13-'14)

In 2008 he was the captain of Portugal. He was instrumental in helping his national team reach semi-final in Euro 2012. He was ranked all –time top scorer with 23 goals. In the year 2014 he became fastest player to score 200 goals in the La Liga League .Accomplished this in his 178 appearance in the La Liga game.

Lionel MessiLionel Messi
Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015
Country: Argentina
Club: FC Barcelona

In 2009 and 2011 he won the “Most FIFA Club Man of the Match Award”, he was the top scorer for country and club in the year 2012. He also won the only player to have scored consecutively against all teams in any professional league in 2012-13. In 2015 he won the only player to score in seven competitions both at club and international level award.