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Deserving Footballers Who Didn’t Win Ballon d’Or

Ballon D’Or is the most prestigious Individual honour for a footballer.It is for footballers,what an Oscar is for Actors,Nobel Prize is for Scientist.But just as some deserving actors never won an Oscar,there are some great footballers who never laid their hands on Ballon D’Or.Here we look at  10 Deserving Footballers Who Didn’t Won Ballon d’Or.

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Some people might wonder that why argubly the greatest of all time,Pele never won a Ballon D’Or.The reason was that at the time when he played the Ballon D’Or was only given to players playing in Europe.Otherwise this Brazilizn legend could have won many Ballon D’Or.

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Probably the only player who didn’t won a Ballon D’Or because of his not so friendly behaviour.Der Tiger was never famous for his friendly character or good manners and definitely did not enjoy a friendly relationship with the media. In 2001, Effenberg led Bayern Munich to both the Bundesliga and their first Champions League win since 1976. He was named the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, but the Ballon d’Or went to Michael Owen. If only Effenberg was nicer to the press, he might have received more votes. But then he wouldn’t have been Stefan Effenberg.


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One of the legendary Real Madrid players Puskas too never won a Ballon D’Or. He was able to score 4 goals in a Champions League final in 1966 against Eintracht Frankfurt. With his national team he won a gold medal in 1952, but missed the train to become world champion in 1954, when his Hungary surprisingly lost to West Germany.


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Unlike Pele, Diego Maradona played in Europe,most famously with Napoli.He mesmerised the fans with his dribbling skills and  became an unstoppable force that carried Napoli to two Italian titles and one Uefa Cup.But at that time when he was easily the best player in the world, he didn’t won the award because the award was only given to players of European Origin at that time.

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One of the greatest midfielder to ever play in the Premier League,Paul Scholes is still regarded as one of the best players to wear the Man United jersey.The most shocking highlight in his career though is the fact that he never got a chance to lay his hands on the only award he deserved, FIFA Ballon d’Or.

“Out of everyone at Manchester United, I would pick out Scholes – he is the best midfielder of his generation. I would have loved to have played alongside him.” Pep Guardiola


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It is difficult to understand how Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez did not lay his hands on the FIFA Ballon d’Or.He scored 323 goals for Real Madrid and 40 goals for Spain.Raul came closest to winning the Ballon d’Or when he finished second to Michael Owen in 2001. Owen had a standout calendar year with Liverpool, scoring 31 goals.


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Henry records are well known. He is still the only player to have won the highest number of Premier League Golden Boots, 5 French Player of the Year Awards, Arsenal’s all time top Goal Scorer, France top goal scorer and 3 time FWA Player of the Year. The Gunners Legend scored 226 goals wining two Premier League titles and three FA Cups between 1997-2007.He came close to winning the award several times, but ended up losing to players like Milan forward Andriy Shevchenko in 2004 despite the fact that he had achieved more that year. Take for instance that invincible year where Henry scored 30 league goals and 7 in Europe compared to Shevchenko 4 in 11 games in Europe.

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This legendary Juventus player never won a Ballon D’Or.In 1996, a 21-year-old Alessandro Del Piero pulled all the strings and scored six goals as Juventus won the UEFA Champions League, but Europe’s journalists awarded the Ballon d’Or to German Matthias Sammer, with Del Piero not even in the top three. In 1998, Del Piero was Italian Footballer of the Year but lost out on the Ballon d’Or to Juventus teammate Zinedine Zidane.

“Here he is, he is different from Zidane, he likes to play, he feels it in his soul; between he and the French (Zinedine Zidane), I stay with him.” Diego Maradonna


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Xavi was the engine of the Barcelona team.. He came close to winning the Ballon D’Or but did not win it. History will judge it harsh for not honoring the tiki taka master with FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Johann Cruyff: “If Xavi has a bad day then Barcelona do not play half as well as usual. He is the one who dominates the rhythm of the game. His play allows the team to function. He is different.”


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He is arguably the greatest defender of all time. He won absolutely everything that is there to be won in football. From Serie A to Champions League to the World Cup, Maldini won it all. It’s hard to believe Paolo Maldini was never honored, and never more so than in 1994. In a year in which Maldini  won pretty much everything except the Ballon d’Or: Serie A, Supercoppa Italiana, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup. He was runner-up in the World Cup with Squadra Azzurra, and was honored as the best player in the world by World Soccer magazine, but the Ballon d’Or went to Barcelona’s Bulgarian striker Hristo Stoichkov.He tops our list of Deserving Footballers Who Didn’t Won Ballon d’Or.


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A sports addict! @subhamchaurasia

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