5 Best Players to Have Never Won the Ballon D’Or




The Ballon D’Or is widely regarded as the most prestigious individual award in all of soccer. Granted annually since 1956, only some of the greatest players in history have had the honor of winning it. Despite this, there are several players who have had exceptional careers yet never achieved this ultimate accolade. With that said, let’s take a look at the ten best players to have never won the Ballon D’Or. If you are a fan of football, you can make watching it more exciting here:


1.Ruud Gullit

A lifetime Dutch international, Ruud Gullit was a versatile midfielder who won numerous accolades during his playing days – including European Footballer of Year (1987) and FIFA World Player of Year (1987). He started his career with hometown club HFC Haarlem before making his mark at Feyenoord Rotterdam and PSV Eindhoven in Netherlands. The Dutchman later moved to Italy where he enjoyed trophy-laden stints with AC Milan and Sampdoria. His historic treble-winning campaign with Milan in 1988-89 earned him world recognition which included being bestowed with World Soccer Magazine’s Player of Year award.


2.Jari Litmanen

An attacking midfielder of great repute, Jari Litmanen made his professional debut for Reipas Lahti in Finland back in 1989 before becoming an overnight sensation by joining Ajax Amsterdam two years later. He spent eight remarkable seasons there during which he won four Eredivisie titles and a Champions League crown (1995). After departing Ajax for Barcelona in 1999, the Finn went on to feature for six other clubs across England and Scotland apart from returning briefly to Ajax twice more before hanging up his boots at age 38 in 2011 after 707 appearances for club and country put together.


3.Paul Breitner

Widely recognized as one of Germany’s early footballing superstars, Paul Breitner could play anywhere across defense or midfield due to his tactical adaptability and excellent technical ability on the ball. He began at Bayern Munich where he quickly developed into an important first team player who ultimately helped them win three Bundesliga titles as well as their second European Cup crown while simultaneously establishing himself as a fixture in West Germany’s starting eleven en route to their 1974 World Cup triumph – one which saw him score once against Yugoslavia while also providing an assist against Chile along the way.


4.Paolo Maldini

One of Italian football’s greatest ever players, Paolo Maldini was best known for being part of AC Milan’s much-vaunted defensive unit dubbed ‘The Invincibles’. The legendary stopper was blessed with tremendous reading of game situations coupled with graceful dribbling skills that enabled him surge forward from time to time whenever needed – resulting in 40 goals from 650 appearances spanning 590 matches over 25 years between 1985-2009! Yes, you heard right; Maldini played until he was 40! What’s more? He also featured thrice (1988–90)in PFA Teams of Year during English Premier League era without playing a single game there!


5.Alfredo Di Stefano

Another worthy inclusion here is Alfredo Di Stefano who besides scoring 216 goals for River Plate and Real Madrid combined during 1950s/60s era is widely regarded as one most influential figures behind Los Blancos’ unprecedented five consecutive European Cups wins between 1956–60 – netting 18 times throughout this run including eight hat-tricks! Embodying finesse with physicality on field meant Di Stefano could easily shift between forward/midfield roles allowing teams shape formations around him accordingly depending upon opponents’ strengths/weaknesses thereby ensuring optimal balance within sides regardless match scenarios faced off against them by opposition at any given time!




These five players have left an indelible mark on the world of football and yet, none of them ever won a Ballon D’Or. Despite this, their respective legacies live on through the sheer brilliance they showed in every game that they played. From Paolo Maldini’s record-breaking 25 year career to Alfredo Di Stefano’s 5 consecutive European Cup wins with Real Madrid, these remarkable athletes will always be remembered for their incredible achievements in football history – regardless of whether or not they were awarded the coveted title of ‘Ballon d’or’.

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