Ronaldo or Messi: Which player has won the most Ballon d'Or points in their career?

Cristiano Ronaldo has more Ballon d'Or points than Lionel Messi

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or, it seems there is increased interest in the winner of the 2021 edition.

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We’re still months away from the winner being declared in December but fans are already disputing who deserves the award.

Do you consider performances in domestic leagues last season? Do you give weight to the winner of the Champions League? Or do the two main summer tournaments - Copa America and Euro 2020 take priority? Or should we look at how players fare in the opening few months of the 2021/22 campaign?

Whichever way you look at it, the bookmakers have Lionel Messi as heavy favourite to win his SEVENTH Ballon d’Or.

While the Argentine finished the season empty-handed with Barcelona, his individual stats were still rather incredible. He then led Argentina to Copa America glory this summer.

Winning the Ballon d’Or this year would put Messi two accolades clear of Cristiano Ronaldo and surely establish his claim as the greatest player of all time.

But we know the question you’re all asking: ‘Who has won the most Ballon d’Or points?’

Quiz: Can you name the footballer based on their Wikipedia page?

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Who's this Spurs legend?

Okay, you’re probably not asking that question but we have the answer.

YouTuber StatsTube has calculated the accumulated number of points each player has received between 1956 up until 2019. He’s produced a graph to illustrate the accumulation of points throughout the years.

If you weren’t already aware, international journalists, coaches and captains vote for their first, second and third best player of the calendar year. They are worth five points, three points and one point respectively. 

With an increase of voters, there are now more points up for grabs hence why you may be surprised at some of the names featured on the list. For example, when finishing second in 2019, Virgil van Dijk earned 679 points while the very first winner, Stanley Matthews in 1956, earned just 47 points.

So, without further ado, here are the 10 players with the most Ballon d’Or points in history:

10 Players with the most Ballon d'Or points in history

10. Johan Cruyff: 506 points
The Dutch legend won the Ballon d’Or three times during his career - 1971, 1973 and 1974 - as well as coming third in 1975.

9. Kaka: 550 points
Winner of the 2007 Ballon d’Or before the Messi/Ronaldo duolopy.

8. Michel Platini: 551 points
As a player, Platini won the Ballon d’Or three times in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

7. Franz Beckenbauer: 576 points
Beckenbauer is credited for inventing the libero role. It earned him two Ballon d’Ors in 1972 and 1976.

6. Ronaldo: 600 points
Despite all the knee injuries, Ronaldo still managed to win two Ballon d’Or wins in 1997 and 2002.

5. Virgil van Dijk: 679 points
The only player in this list who hasn’t actually won the Ballon d’Or before. He did come within a few points of beating Messi in 2019, though.

4. Zinedine Zidane: 715 points
After helping France win the 1998 World Cup, Zidane won the Ballon d’Or later that year. He had finished third in 1997.

3. Luka Modric: 837 points
The man who broke up Messi and Ronaldo’s dominance of the award in 2018 after helping Croatia reach the World Cup final.

2. Lionel Messi: 2,961 points
He may have six Ballon d’Ors to his name but Messi hasn’t picked up the most amount of points in the voting. Other than winning it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019, Messi finished second on five occasions and third once.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo: 3,601 points
So, Ronaldo has racked up the most Ballon d’Or points in history. He’s won the award five times (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017) and has finished runner-up six times. Like Messi, he’s also finished third.

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So, Ronaldo has picked up more Ballon d’Or points than Messi throughout his career. Of course, being a couple of years older gives him an obvious advantage and, in a few years time, the Argentine could well eclipse him.

In fact, considering Messi picked up 686 points when winning the award in 2019 he could overtake Ronaldo as early as December if the Portuguese fails to pick up many votes.

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