The awarding of the Ballon d’Or to Luka Modric on Monday broke the 10-year monopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Over the past decade that duo’s dominance has meant that some great players never got their hands on the prize. Here we look at some of the all-time greats to not have won the coveted trophy.
The best defender of his generation won the European Cup three times, Serie A six times and the World Cup once. But the elegant Italian inexplicably never won the Ballon d’Or.
Ask any teammate of the dynamic Dane and they will likely tell you he was the best, most creative player they ever played with. He won trophies wherever he went but never won the big individual honor.
One of the star men whose Ballon d’Or quest was scuppered by Messi and Ronaldo. Won nine La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and scored the winner in the 2010 World Cup final for good measure.
The “Magic Magyar” is one of the definitive all-time greats. he scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, and 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. But that was not good enough to win him the Ballon d’Or.
The thinking man’s midfielder, a player who wrote poetry while others around him struggled with prose. Pirlo was a crucial part of his sides’ four Serie A titles and central to the Italian team that lifted the 2006 World Cup.
OTHER ALL-TIME GREATS WHO MISSED OUT
Thierry Henry, Peter Schmeichel, Paulo Maldini, Xavi, Ryan Giggs and Romario.