The main award for any football player is his team achievements - championships, cups, medals. However, every athlete dreams of becoming the best in the world. In football, this individual prize is called the Golden Ball. He is awarded annually to the best players on the planet for personal merit and a successful season in all tournaments. And who received the Golden Ball, and for what achievements, will help to find out a detailed review.
The Golden Ball award is presented annually to the best soccer player in the world. Award winners can be players from all over the world. Initially, the award was conceived only for players with European roots. However, in the end, the Golden Ball was awarded without any ethnic restrictions.
The first award ceremony is dated 1956. Then the award deservedly went to the forward of the Blackpool legendary Stanley Matthews. It is worth noting that for a long time the chairman of the jury was the founder of the award, Frenchman Gabriel Ano. Until 1995, the figurine was awarded only to Europeans, so the idols of millions of Pele and Maradona never received it. The first non-European footballer to receive the Golden Ball was the iconic African striker George Weah. At that time, he was enchanting in the ranks of the Italian Milan.
Since the mid-2000s, the composition of the voting jury members has expanded from 52 to 96 journalists from France Football. In 2010, the award went under the patronage of FIFA. Now the prize is called the FIFA Golden Ball. Its first owner was Lionel Messi.
Three-time award winners
Throughout the history of the award, there have been many great football players. But those who received more Golden Balls deserve separate praise and honor. One of them was the Dutch striker Johan Cruyff. He won the nomination in 1971, 1973 and 1974. Successfully played for Barcelona and Ajax. For a long time remained the best goal scorer of the Dutch team. Currently holds the position of sports director of the Mexican Guadalajara.
The second player to receive the Golden Ball three times is Michel Platini. He has won awards from 1983 to 1985. It is no exaggeration to say that Platini is France's best midfielder of the 1980s. In those golden times for himself, the football player played for the Juventus Turin. Since 2007, the Frenchman has been the president of UEFA.
Another famous striker who received the Golden Ball 3 times was the former Dutch forward, Ajax and Milan, named Marco van Basten.
He became a prize winner in 1988, 1989 and 1992. He entered the top ten players in the history of Dutch football. Today coaches the club "AZ" as a senior assistant.
Twice Prize Winners
Of the players who received the Golden Ball twice, Alfredo Di Stefano stands out clearly. This football player posthumously topped the list of the best in the FIFA Hall of Fame. In different years from the 1940s to the 1960s, he was the leader of teams such as River Plate, Real Madrid and many others. In honor of the Argentine, a monument has been erected on the territory of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Each of the players who received 2 awards deserves his line in the FIFA Hall of Fame. Franz Beckenbauer is no exception . The defender of the Munich “Bavaria” for a long time captained both in the club and in the German national team.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is one of the best German football forwards in its history. In his arsenal of victory in the Champions Cup, the 1980 European Championship and the silver mundiales of 1982 and 1986.
Kevin Keegan has been awarded the highest individual football award twice in a row. The golden years for the Englishman were in the late 1970s.
The youngest ex-soccer player with two Golden Balls in his pocket is Brazilian Ronaldo. Forward club club has accumulated about 300 goals. For national teams of different ages, he scored 90 goals.
Golden Ball Owners
The highest award from 1956 to 2010 once received 35 football players. The vast majority of them represent Europe and local championships. In the 1950s and 1960s, the prize was received by Frenchman Raymond Kopa, Spaniard Luis Suarez, Italians Omar Sivori and Gianni Rivera, Englishman Bobby Charlton, Hungarian Florian Albert, Irishman George Best and others. In 1963, Lev Yashin became the winner of the award. He is still the only goalkeeper - the owner of the Golden Ball.
In the 1970-1980s, Gerd Muller, Paolo Rossi, Rud Gullit received the prize . It is worth noting the presence on the list of two representatives of the USSR at once - Oleg Blokhin and Igor Belanov. In subsequent years, the award went to Lothar Matteus, Hristo Stoichkov, Pierre Papen, Matiass Zamer, Rivaldo, Zinadin Zidane, Ronaldinho, Pavel Nedved, Kaka, Michael Owen, Andrei Shevchenko and others. Football player who received the last “Golden Ball” sample France Football, was Lionel Messi (2009).
New Era - New Award
The FIFA Golden Ball is awarded to the best football players on the planet starting in the 2010/2011 season. Over the past 5 years, the award went to only two players.
In 2010, three representatives of Barcelona fought for the award: Messi, Iniesta and Xavi. The votes were divided, but with a small margin Lionel still won. The following year, the prize also went to the Argentine striker. This time he was ahead of Ronaldo and Xavi. The year 2012 was marked by the crushing and almost unanimous victory of Lionel Messi over Iniesta and his Portuguese counterpart from Real Madrid to Cristiano.
The situation changed when the Golden Ball 2013 award began. Who received the prize for the best football player of the year? Messi, Ribery and Ronaldo participated in the fight. By majority vote, the latter was chosen. So, Cristiano for the first time received a FIFA figurine.
Who got the Golden Ball 2014
In 2014, the struggle was even fiercer. Ronaldo, Messi and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who spent a brilliant year for the national team, claimed the award.
The chances of victory were almost equal. Lionel reached the final of the World Cup with Argentina and, as always, brilliantly played for the club. Cristiano spent a phenomenal season for Real Madrid, winning the Champions League. Neuer repeatedly saved the German national team, thanks to which the team won a landslide victory at the 2014 World Cup. The choice of experts was extremely difficult. So who got the 2014 Golden Ball?
According to preliminary estimates, Neuer was the favorite. However, in practice, Cristiano Ronaldo won a landslide victory, beating the competitors by votes exactly 2 times.
Statistics by country and club
If we take the “Golden Balls” in the overall standings of the French edition and FIFA, then the leading country in the ranking is Germany. Seven statuettes - exactly so many times the Germans became the best football players in the world. In total, 5 players were laureates. Holland is also in second place with 7 awards, but here only 3 football players of the country brought awards. Further located: France - 6 statuettes, Italy, England and Brazil - 5 each, Argentina and Portugal - 4, etc. In the standings of the USSR and Russia there are 3 prizes.
In a similar ranking among clubs, the first position has long been assigned to Barcelona. Eight of its players in different years have won 12 awards. Next comes Juventus with 9 statuettes, Milan - 8, Real Madrid - 7, Bayern - 5, Manchester United. - 4, etc. It is noteworthy that the list includes Moscow Dynamo and the once strong club Ferencvaros.
Voting for the Golden Ball 2015
Who received this award is currently unknown. So far, experts have revealed an extended list of participants in the award. Among the nominee players there are friends and new faces. Among the main applicants, Messi and Ronaldo are again listed. Today they have no equal.
It is worth noting that the final poll to determine the winner of the award has not yet begun, since the seasons are not yet finished. Nevertheless, rumors about the Golden Ball 2015 award have already appeared in the global network: who received the statuette and how many votes. Believe such news is not worth it. FIFA denies this information.