The best XI to have never won a Ballon d'Or has been named

Lionel Messi managed to win his sixth Ballon d’Or trophy on Monday night.

The Argentine managed to pip Virgil van Dijk to the award, with Cristiano Ronaldo finishing in third place.

Since the award was created in 1956, many incredible players have never been crowned Ballon d’Or winners.

On the back of Monday’s ceremony, Spanish publication AS have named the best XI that have never won the coveted trophy.

It’s important to note that South Americans could not win the Ballon d’Or until 1995, so players such as Diego Maradona and Pele have been excluded.

Here’s their list…

GK: Gianluigi Buffon

Buffon came so close to becoming the second goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or in 2006, but he was just beaten by international teammate Fabio Cannavaro.

Buffon cemented his status as the one of the best goalkeepers of all-time with his displays for Juventus between 2001-2018.

Now 41, Buffon is still going strong.

RB: Phillip Lahm

One of the most consistent players of all-time. Lahm wasn’t big (he’s only five foot seven) and he wasn’t that quick either, but he made up for that with brilliant positioning and a knack for defending.

Hansi Flick, Bayern’s interim manager, said last week: “I do not understand why a player like Philipp Lahm never won the Ballon d’Or. He won everything.”

He’s right. Lahm won everything with Bayern, including eight Bundesliga titles and one Champions League. He also captained Germany to the 2014 World Cup.

CB: Bobby Moore

Pele summed up Moore’s greatness when he named him as his toughest opponent.

“Whoever I played against I had the best defender marking me, but the best was Bobby Moore,” he said, per FourFourTwo. “Bob was the best centre-back I’ve seen – so quick up here [points to his head].”

The best moment of Moore’s career came in 1966 when he captained England to the World Cup on home soil.

CB: Paolo Maldini

The legendary defender finished third on two occasions: 1994 and 2003.

He enjoyed an incredible 25-year playing career at AC Milan, where he won a ridiculous five Champions League titles. 

LB: Roberto Carlos

Carlos was a decent defender, but what made him stand out was his threat in attack.

His best trait was undoubtedly from free-kicks. Carlos hit the ball with such power and precision that he could score from almost anywhere.

Carlos enjoyed his best days at Real Madrid, where he played from 1996-2007.

CM: Paul Gascoigne

AS describe Gascoigne as follows: “The most outrageously talented English player of his generation, and arguably of any generation.”

Gascogine nearly inspired England to the 1990 World Cup. That year, he finished fourth in the voting.

CM: Marco Tardelli

Tardelli put in a strong case for the 1982 Ballon d’Or when he netted the winner in the 1982 World Cup final.

However, he would only finish 15th in the voting that year. That must have been pretty insulting.

Tardelli enjoyed a successful career at Juventus, where he won five Serie A titles and a European Cup across a 10-year spell.

CM: Andres Iniesta

Iniesta wasn’t much of a goalscorer, he only scored 57 goals in 674 games, but he was so much more than that.

The Spanish midfielder was a key part in a Barcelona side under Pep Guardiola that many consider to be the greatest team of all-time.

He came closest to winning the title in 2010 when he finished second to Barca teammate, Lionel Messi.

CAM: Dennis Bergkamp

What a genius Bergkamp was.

The Dutchman could do almost anything he wanted with the ball at his feet.

He came closest to winning the Ballon d’Or in 1992 when he finished second while at Ajax.

ST: Eric Cantona

The best £1 million Manchester United ever spent.

Cantona’s signing in 1992 proved to be the catalyst as United emerged into one of the world’s best teams once again.

After helping United to their first Premier League title in 1993, Cantona came third in the Ballon d’Or.

ST: Raul

Raul had a remarkable career at Real Madrid.

He scored 323 goals for Los Blancos between 1994-2010.

He’s also one of Spain’s best ever players, having netted 44 times in 106 games for his country.

Raul came closest to winning football’s biggest individual prize in 2001 when he finished second, only to Michael Owen.

So there you have it. AS have come up with a decent list there, but we’re going to make a few alterations…

Firstly, it’s surprising that a Spanish publication have decided to snub Xavi.

Xavi had the ability to control and dictate the tempo of a game. He is undoubtedly one of the best midfielders ever and a major reason why Barcelona were so good during his time there.

We would place Xavi in the best XI instead of Tardelli.

Thierry Henry is also a notable omission. The Frenchman was the most feared striker in the Premier League during his time with Arsenal.

He helped his side to three Premier League titles and was a major reason why Arsenal were ‘Invincibles’ in the 2003/04 season.

Possessing electric pace and lethal in front of goal, we would put Henry in the XI instead of Cantona.

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