The Ballon d’Or is the most prestigious individual honour in football. It is an award presented by France Football to the best performing player in a calendar year. When the Ballon d’Or started, it only recognized the best player in Europe.
Its ambit was widened in 1995 to include players from around the world who ply their trade in Europe. The winner is chosen via a voting system that involves journalists, national team coaches and captains. Since 2007, the Ballon d’Or has become a global prize that recognizes players from all around the world.
Winning the Ballon d’Or is a dream for any footballer. Getting recognized as the best in the business is no mean feat. As such, it is incredible that quite a few players have won more than one Ballon d’Or.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the five players with the most Ballon d’Or awards.
#5 Marco Van Basten (Netherlands) – 3 Ballon d’Or awards
Dutch footballing sensation Marco Van Basten was forced to retire at the age of 30 due to an injury. Van Basten is among the best finishers the game has ever seen. His skillset was replete with thunderous volleys and towering headers.
He won the Ballon d’Or thrice. The Dutchman first won it in 1988 during his time with AC Milan. He also won the Golden Boot at the 1988 UEFA Euro and led Netherlands to continental glory.
Van Basten won his second Ballon d’Or the following year and then won it again three years later in 1992. He has also won three Eredivisie titles with Ajax. Van Basten has also won the Serie A title four times and the European Cup thrice with AC Milan.
He scored a total of 277 goals and provided 82 assists in 373 matches in his club career.
#4 Michel Platini (France) – 3 Ballon d’Or Awards
Widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Michel Platini has won the Ballon d’Or thrice. Platini was nicknamed ‘El Roy’ (The King) for his leadership skills but his conduct during his time as the President of the UEFA in 2015 has tainted his legacy.
The attacking midfielder scored 129 goals and provided 23 assists in 262 appearances in his club career. Platini is renowned for his supreme passing ability. He is also one of the most technically gifted players in the history of the game. Platini was also incredibly intelligent and was excellent at creating opportunities for his teammates.
The Frenchman won the Ballon d’Or in three consecutive years from 1983 to 1985. He was at Juventus when he won all three times. He won the Golden Boot and was chosen as the Best Player of the Tournament as France won the 1984 UEFA European Championship.