Of all the individual awards, the Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious.
FIFA have their own award but it’s France Football’s accolade that elite players crave most.
Lionel Messi was crowned the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner at a glitzy ceremony in Paris on Monday. The Barcelona legend has now won the award six times, setting a new record in the process.
Messi was previously tied with Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the award five times during his illustrious career.
But which clubs boast the most Ballon d’Or winners? Let’s take a look…
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9= Marseille (Wins: 1)
Jean-Pierre Papin (France - 1991)
9= Liverpool (Wins: 1)
Michael Owen (England - 2001)
9= Ferencvaros (Wins: 1)
Florian Albert (Hungary - 1967)
9= Dynamo Moscow (Wins: 1)
Lev Yashin (Soviet Union - 1963)
9= Dukla Prague (Wins: 1)
Josef Masopust (Czech Republic - 1962)
9= Borussia Mönchengladbach (Wins: 1)
Allan Simonsen (Denmark - 1977)
9= Borussia Dortmund (Wins: 1)
Matthias Sammer (Germany - 1996)
9= Blackpool (Wins: 1)
Stanley Matthews (England - 1956)
9= Benfica (Wins: 1)
Eusebio (Portugal - 1965)
9= Ajax (Wins: 2)
Johan Cruyff (Netherlands - 1971, 1973*)
9= Hamburg (Wins: 2)
Kevin Keegan (England - 1978, 1979)
Blackpool level with the likes of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund - who would have thought it?
Younger football fans may also be shocked to see that Kevin Keegan is the proud owner of not one but two Ballons d’Or.
It’s also a surprise that Michael Owen is Liverpool’s only Ballon d’Or winner.
8. Inter Milan (Wins 2)
Lothar Matthäus (Germany - 1990)
Ronaldo (Brazil - 1997)
Inter didn’t claim their first Ballon d’Or since 1990 - and then another one came seven years later courtesy of the great Ronaldo.
7. Dynamo Kiev (Wins: 2)
Oleg Blokhin (Soviet Union - 1975)
Igor Belanov (Soviet Union - 1986)
Dynamo Kiev were a force during the 1970s and 1980s, winning the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1975 and 1986 - the same years Blokhin and Belanov won their Ballon d’Or awards, respectively.
6. Manchester United (Wins: 4)
Denis Law (Scotland - 1964)
Bobby Charlton (England - 1966)
George Best (Northern Ireland - 1968)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal - 2008)
If you visit Old Trafford you’ll see a statue of the ‘Holy Trinity’ outside the front of the ground.
The players in question are Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best, who all won the Ballon d’Or within the space of four years in the 1960s.
Ronaldo then added a fourth in 2008 before joining Real Madrid a year later.
5. Bayern Munich (Wins: 5)
Gerd Muller (Germany - 1970)
Franz Beckenbauer (Germany - 1972, 1976)
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany - 1980, 1981)
Three iconic names of German football all won the Ballon d’Or during their time with Bayern Munich.
3= AC Milan (Wins: 8)
Gianni Rivera (Italy - 1969)
Ruud Gullit (Netherlands - 1987)
Marco van Basten (Netherlands - 1988, 1989, 1992)
George Weah (Liberia - 1995)
Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine - 2004)
Kaka (Brazil - 2007)
Marco van Basten is one of only five players to win the Ballon d’Or more than twice. George Weah and Andriy Shevchenko, meanwhile, are the only players in their respective country’s history to win the prize.
3= Juventus (Wins: 8)
Omar Sívori (Italy - 1961)
Paolo Rossi (Italy - 1982)
Michel Platini (France - 1983, 1984, 1985)
Roberto Baggio (Italy - 1993)
Zinedine Zidane (France - 1998)
Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic - 2003)
Michel Platini was Europe’s best midfielder between 1983-1985 and deservedly landed his hands on the Ballon d’Or three times. Zinedine Zidane won the award once in 1998 and his replacement Pavel Nedved went on to win it himself five years later.
2. Real Madrid (Wins: 11)
Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain - 1957, 1959)
Raymond Kopa (France - 1958)
Luis Figo (Portugal - 2000)
Ronaldo (Brazil - 2002)
Fabio Cannavaro (Italy - 2006)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal - 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)
Luka Modric (Croatia - 2018)
Cristiano Ronaldo boosted Real Madrid’s Ballon d’Or tally in the mid-2010s, cementing his status as the club’s greatest ever player in the process.
Who will be the next Madrid player to win the accolade?
1. Barcelona (Wins: 12)
Luis Suárez (Spain - 1960)
Johan Cruyff (Netherlands - 1973*, 1974)
Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria - 1994)
Rivaldo (Brazil - 1999)
Ronaldinho (Brazil - 2005)
Lionel Messi (Argentina - 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019)
Before Messi came along, Barcelona had won the Ballon d’Or six times, including Cruyff’s 1973 award (he joined the Catalan club from Ajax that year, so it’s shared between the two clubs in certain record books).
But Messi has taken Barça’s tally to 12 following his latest honour.
Of course, it goes without saying that this doesn’t make Barcelona a more successful football club than Real Madrid.
But it’s still a source of immense pride for any club when one of their players wins football’s most coveted individual award.News Now - Sport News