Top 7 Footballers Who never won the BallonD’or

1. DiegoMaradona:

Diego Maradona is probably the best player never to win the Ballon d’Or. It is astonishing the great Argentine was never even nominated for the award when it is as clear as daylight that “EL Pibe de Oro” was country miles ahead of his contemporaries between 1986-1990. Maradona single-handedly inspired Argentina to a FIFA World Cup trophy, and perhaps even more impressively dragged minnows Napoli to two Serie A titles against the galactic might of AC Milan and Juventus.

2. Xavi Hernandez:

Xavi Hernandez was the engine behind both Barcelona’s and Spain’s success in the 2010s. The midfielder kept the play ticking, sometimes even going as far as registering more passes than the entire opposition team! His metronomic displays culminated in World Cups and European Cups. Unfortunately, he suffered the same fate as his compatriot Andrés Iniesta; Xavi finished third twice in the Ballon d’Or rankings, in 2010 and 2011.

3. Wesley Sneijder:

The Dutchman makes it a hat-trick of victims for the 2010 Ballon d’Or crown. The brilliant playmaker was pulled the strings in the middle of the park to guide Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan side to a treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League. Sneijder was also the talisman for the Netherlands as Oranje reached the FIFA World Cup final in 2010. In the end, the Dutch midfielder didn’t even manage to earn a podium finish!

4. Thierry Henry:

A pivotal part of Arsenal’s Invincibles, the French striker was nominated for the prestigious award in 2003, but was denied the ultimate individual prize by Juventus and Czech midfielder PavelNedved. A lack of success in European competitions for The Gunners and lacklustre displays for France is believed to have played a detrimental part in the Frenchman’s claim to the biggest individual honour in the game.

5. Franck Ribery:

Similar to Wesley Sneijder the talismanic French winger bagged a treble of UEFA Champions League, German Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal with Bayern Munich but could only watch on in dismay as he finished third in the overall voting poll behind two of the greatest footballers to play the game: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ribery is still sour grapes about the decision to this day, labelling it as “an absolute robbery!” 

6. Paolo Maldini:

Whilst going through all the theBallon d’Or winners, one might be forgiven for thinking that the voting system has a bias against defenders. The only player to win the award playing a defensive position in modern times was Italian centre-back Fabio Cannavaro for his World Cup heroics with Italy in 2006. Prior to that, Maldini got close on two occasions, finishing third in the Ballon d’Or votings in 1994 and 2003, expertly marshalling Milan’s defence as I Rossoneri won the Serie A and UEFA Champions League double in both years.

7. Romário:

Romário isn’t talked about enough when people roll the names of great Brazilians off the tip of their tongue — from Pelé to Ronaldo, from Ronaldinho to Kaká, but Romário was every bit of a phenomenon in his pomp. A prolific goalscorer, he scored 165 goals in 167 games for PSV Eindhoven, before joining Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona “Dream Team” to conquer European football. The 1994 Ballon d’Or was awarded to his Barcelona strike partner HristoStoichkov as the rules stated that only players of European decent were eligible for the prize.