Ballon d’Or award is the most prestigious accolade an individual footballer can win today. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award since 2008. Brazilian star Kaka was the last player to win it before the two stars took over. The dominance is set to reduce as they continue to age but this year, CR7 is the favorite to lift it for the sixth time. The Argentine can also claim the accolade because nobody scored more goals in all competition than him. Other new challenges include Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar of PSG and Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard among few others. Today, we want to look at five legends with three or more Ballon d’Or awards in their cabinets.
5. Marco van Basten- 3 Awards (1988, 89 & 1992)
Marco van Basten could’ve delivered more trophies and Ballon d’Or awards than maybe Messi and Ronaldo. However, at a tender age of 28 years, the Dutch legend suffered a terrible injury playing for AC Milan and he was forced to retire prematurely. He managed to score 277 goals in 373 matches for Ajax and Milan. He also delivered not only 2 UEFA Champions League awards but also three Ballon d’Or awards. He was a special type of striker but injuries robbed him away.
4. Johan Cruyff- 3 Awards (1971, 73 & 1974)
The father of tiki-taka football is none other than Netherland football legend Johan Cruyff. The former Ajax and Barcelona star was a master of ball possession and attacking the football. He netted 368 goals in 661 appearances in his career. This allowed him to deliver 3 UEFA Champions League crowns for Ajax IN 1971, 72 and 73. In the same period, he won the coveted Ballon d’Or award three times.
Johan Cruyff is the only Ballon d'Or winner to win a European Cup/Champions League as coach pic.twitter.com/bFtkmQzIeP
— Barcelona Worldwide (@BarcaWorldwide) March 26, 2016
The Dutch legend introduced tiki-taka football at Barcelona when he became their manager in 1989. Pep Guardiola was the captain of the team that lifted the European crown in 1992. The system is still played by the first team as well as all youth ranks in the club.
3. Michel Platini- 3 Awards (1983, 84 & 1985)
French legendary midfielder Michel Platini lifted the Ballon d’Or three times. The former Juventus star lifted the award in 1983, 84 and 85. He helped the Old Lady lift UEFA Champions League/European Cup in 1984/85 seasons. He also helped Le Bleus win the Euros in 1984.