One of the highest accolades in a football player’s career is winning the Ballon d’Or. While some people might put winning the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA Champions League on a higher platform. The Ballon d’Or is undoubtedly the highest award for individual talent.
The Ballon d’Or has, nevertheless, been the subject of discussion and controversy, just like any other prize. For their charm on the field, certain legends have received the award several times. While others have had the incredibly bad luck to not win.
Many of the best footballers have failed to take home the prized award despite being deserving. A recent example of a player who didn’t win the prize while having a standout season is Robert Lewandowski. Who finished second to Lionel Messi for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
Here is a list of the top five players who were never awarded the Ballon d’Or:
5. Andres Iniesta
One of his generation’s most talented central midfielders was Andres Iniesta. The Barcelona icon had probably the best technical abilities of any player in the last 20 years and could see passes that no one else could.
Iniesta continues to be one of the most graceful players to ever grace the centre of a soccer pitch. With eight for Barcelona and six for Spain.
Although he undoubtedly regrets not receiving the honor. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have seen this man at his best. In 2010 and 2012, he came in second and third, respectively.
4. Xavi Hernandez
Xavi is one of the greatest players to have ever played for the club and is yet another outstanding La Masia academy graduate from Barcelona. He is also among the greatest midfielders in history. He had previously held the Barcelona record for most appearances (767).
Despite being an essential member of the squad, it was challenging for him to stand out. But he is in a league of his own among the best midfielders in the world, especially those who don’t win the Ballon d’Or.
He consistently placed third from 2009 to 2011, making him the best in his position at that time.
3. Paolo Maldini
Paolo Maldini, another all-time greatest, is still regarded as one of the best players to have ever played the game and one of the foremost defenders of all time. A real “one-club man,” Maldini played for Milan for 25 seasons, earning an incredible 25 trophies, including five European awards and seven Serie A championship.
The defender was the model for future defenders and routinely made all-time lists, but he was unable to earn the Golden Ball, just as the 2006 World Cup victory came too late for the Italian who had already retired.
The club and country captain, who was a pillar of the red San Siro team and played until he was 40 years old, is unquestionably the best defender to never awarded the Ballon d’Or.
Due to the depth of quality in that club, the winger’s accomplishments, which included winning it all at Barcelona by his mid-20s, are typically overlooked. His iconic performance in La Remontada, however, confirmed his talent and significance as an individual.
His best opportunity to win the Ballon d’Or is probably another Champions League victory.
1. Theirry Henry
Another legendary player who was never awarded the Ballon d’Or award is Thierry Henry. The Frenchman scored goals for enjoyment and amassed numerous prestigious victories over the course of an illustrious career for club and nation.
Henry was the standout player on Arsenal’s improbable Invincibles squad and went on to net 175 goals in 258 games for the Club. He earned 123 caps for France, helping them win back-to-back international competitions as the new millennium began. Finally, he helped Barcelona achieve extraordinary success. Without a question, he is the present generation’s idol.
He came the closest to winning the Ballon d’Or in 2003 and 2006, but don’t let that diminish the impact he made on the sport or his standing as a genuine entertainer.
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