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Historical Facts About Ballon d'Or Award And Its Past Winners.

Source: Sky Sports

Ballon d'Or is a French title which means Golden ball in English. It was established by a French news magazine called France Football, as an annual award to recognise best performing player in a calendar year.

Ballon d'Or Awards is arguably a leading name in Football individual awards. While FIFA started recognising players for their stellar performances in a year from 1991, The most coveted personal accolade was created by French publication France Football since the year of 1956. It was originally known as the European Footballer of the Year award, and was awarded only to players from European origin.

In 1995, following due consultations, the Award was expanded to include all active players of any origin player active in any league or national team of European Football. In further plans to improve the award to global recognition, the award was branded as a global prize in 2007, with all professional footballers from around the world being eligible to be nominated depending on performance for Club and Country.

With the two prestigious awards sharing clear similarity in terms of the criteria to recognise a player with either award, France Football and FIFA opted to merge the two awards. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, FIFA announced the joint agreement to form a global FIFA and Ballon D'Or award, which subsequently resulted to FIFA Ballon d'Or award which Lionel Messi received the inaurgural award in 2010.

However, the joint agreement ended in 2016, and the award moved back to the original Ballon d'Or format, while FIFA also returned to its own annual award now called "The Best FIFA Men's Player". Cristiano Ronaldo claimed both awards after winning EURO 2016 and the 2015/2016 UEFA Champions League with Portugal and Real Madrid respectively.

Source: Getty images

The Ballon d'Or Award in its 65-years history have produced 26 different winners with Lionel Messi (6) and Cristiano Ronaldo (5), the two top most winners of the most coveted personal trophy. Michel Platini(France), Johan Cruyff(Netherlands) and Marco Van Basten(Netherlands) Won it on three(3) occasions, while Ronaldo Delima(Brazil), Franz Beckenbauer(Germany), Alfredo Di Stefano(Spain), Kevin Keegan(England) and Karl-heinz Rummenigge(Germany), all won it twice.

Source: Eurosport

Other players to win it once include Zinedane Zidane(France), Gerd Muller(Germany), George Weah(Northern Ireland), Ronaldinho(Brazil), Rivaldo(Brazil), Roberto Baggio(Italy), Andriy Shevchenko(Ukraine), Lothar Matthaus(Germany), Ruud Gullit(Spain), Allan Simonsen(Denmark), Hristo Stoichkov(Bulgaria), Gianni Rivera(Italy), Raymond Kopa(France), Bobby Charlton(England), Luis Suarez(Spain) and Eusebio(Portugal).

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