It’s been 10 years since someone other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or and it doesn’t look like their stranglehold is set to end anytime soon.
Last week saw Ronaldo awarded the Golden Ball in Paris, France, to equal Messi’s record haul of five and further cement his status as one of football’s greatest.
Because of their dominance, some fantastic players have missed out on the Ballon d’Or when they really ought to have won it at least once.
Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Steven Gerrard, Gianluigi Buffon, Ryan Giggs… the list goes on.
Another player who recently ended his career without a Ballon d’Or to his name is Philipp Lahm, the former Germany and Bayern Munich player.
Lahm achieved everything as a professional footballer and is widely regarded as one of the finest defenders there ever has been.
Dependable, consistent and versatile, the 34-year-old was a complete footballer but unfortunately never stood a chance against Messi and Ronaldo.
And to this day he still isn’t happy about that. Lahm recently claimed the Ballon d’Or needs to be changed and that it’s become a popularity contest.
“It’s time to change the Ballon d’Or. It’s just a competition of popularity for the attackers,” said Lahm, who makes a very valid point.
But Gary Lineker disagrees. In response, the former England striker said the reason Messi and Ronaldo keep winning the Ballon d’Or is simply because they’re the best.
“Or it could be that the best players, certainly in the last decade, have been forwards,” Lineker hit back.
“In fact you could argue that, if it were truly for the best footballer of the year rather than, on occasions, the best footballer from the best team, Messi would win it every year.”
Can’t argue with that. Messi and Ronaldo have unquestionably been the world’s two best players over the past decade, so regardless of how the likes of Lahm, Iniesta and Xavi have been, it’s hard to see past them for the Ballon d’Or.
Not that it will last forever, of course, because they’re now into their 30s and Ronaldo is starting to show signs of decline.