The time has finally come to name the best player of 2018. That’s right, the Ballon d’Or is finally here. But before that, we took a stroll down the memory lane to find out which special footballer has the most number of podium finishes at the event. Here are the top 5.
#5 Johan Cruyff (4 podiums)
Johan Cruyff’s contribution to football is insurmountable. The Dutch legend was one of the best to ever grace the football pitch, and even introduced the world to Tiki-Taka.
As a player, Cruyff won several individual awards, but none as precious as his three Ballon d’Ors in 1971, 1973, and 1974.
In fact, the first five years of the 1970s were a Cruyff show, as he even managed to finish third in 1975.
#4 Franz Beckenbauer (5 podiums)
It is rare to see a defender being awarded the Ballon d’Or. However, during the 1970s, Franz Beckenbauer found himself on the podium more often than not.
Beckenbauer went close to winning his first award in 1966. However, a World Cup Final loss meant that the award instead went to Bobby Charlton.
The German legend kept persisting, however, and won his first Ballon d’Or six years later in 1972. Two quick Silver medals followed in 1974 and 1975 before the German legend won his second award in 1976.
#3 Michel Platini (5 podiums)
Before Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi arrived, three footballers were tied at the highest individual wins. One of those three was Frenchman Michel Platini.
Michel Platini’s achievement was also ranked slightly higher than his two closest competitors, for he had won the award three times in a row! The Frenchman first won it in 1983, repeated it in 1984, and then won the lost of his Ballon d’Ors in 1985.
Eight years prior, however, Platini had his first skirmish with the top spot, when he missed by four points and finished third. He was third again three years later in 1980.
Nevertheless, Platini’s grand total still comes to five, which is equal to Franz Beckenbauer. However, his three wins to Beckenbauer’s two put him in number 3.
#2 Cristiano Ronaldo (10 podiums)
Coming in at the second position, with double the podium finishes than his next best competitor, is Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or on five occasions and finished second on the other five.
The Portuguese international ushered in the ‘Ronaldo/Messi’ era when he won the Ballon d’Or in 2008. For the next 10 years, no one but the two would finish first in the race to be crowned best in the world.
Unluckily for Ronaldo, he notched one fewer podium finish than his arch-nemesis, a statistic which might change after 2018’s Ballon d’Or.
#1 Lionel Messi (11 podiums)
Edging fierce rival Cristiano Ronaldo once again, it’s Lionel Messi who finds himself in the first position! The Argentine forward has one more overall podium finish in his career than his arch-nemesis, which came when he finished 3rd in 2007. On that occasion, Ronaldo had pipped Messi to finish 2nd.
Furthermore, Messi has finished runners-up on five occasions. On all five occasions, he lost the top prize to Ronaldo.
Finally, the Argentine forward has five Ballon d’Ors for himself, which brings his total podium finishes to 11.