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Ranking the 10 greatest Ballon d’Or winners of all time

Ranking the 10 greatest Ballon d’Or winners of all time

We rank the 10 greatest Ballon d’Or winners of all time

Ranking the greatest Ballon d'or winners
Who is number 1?

The Ballon d’Or is an award which has captured the imagination of football fans, pundits and players all over Europe and the world. There have been some truly great players who have won the prestigious individual prize and cemented their legacy as world class superstars.

Earlier, the award was restricted to only European footballers which meant that greats like Pele and Maradona never had the opportunity to win the award. However, in 1995, the award was expanded to included even Non-Europeans provided they played in European clubs.

In 2007, the award became truly global including all the players from around the world. In this article, we attempt to pick out and rank the best 10 players who have won the Ballon d’Or award. Believe me, it was not an easy task.


#10 Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer of West Germany
Franz Beckenbauer revolutionised the art of defending

Germany and Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer is arguably the greatest defender to ever play the game. Nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’ (The Emperor), Beckenbauer led Germany and Bayern Munich to immense success winning 4 Bundesliga titles, 3 European Cups and even the World Cup.

Starting his career as a defensive midfielder, Beckenbauer soon made the shift to defence where he pioneered the sweeper role. Brilliant on the ball and an excellent reader of the game, the German was a major reason for Munich’s dominance in Europe.

The legendary defender won 2 Ballon d’Ors in 1972 and 1976 for his wonderful performances for both West Germany and Bayern Munich. A true German icon and an absolute legend of the game, Beckenbauer’s impact on his country’s legacy as a football superpower can be seen by this quote from Boris Becker:

“Franz Beckenbauer symbolises football and a winning mentality. On top of that, he brought the World Cup to his own country. We’re proud of him.”

Being a centre-back didn’t stop him from scoring some truly amazing goals.

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