Which players have won the most Ballons d'Or?
The Ballon d'Or returned on Monday evening, as France Football's prestigious awards gala takes place for the first time in two years.
After a year off because of the covid-19 pandemic, the Ballon d’Or gala returned on Monday 29 November, as the prestigious magazine France Football recognised the outstanding performers in men’s and women’s football in 2021.
First Ballons d'Or since 2019 to be awarded at Paris ceremony
At the ceremony, which was held at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, four prizes were handed out, headlined by the Men’s Ballon d'Or and Women’s Ballon d'Or. The Yashin Trophy and the Kopa Trophy, given to the best men’s goalkeeper and under-21 player, respectively, will also be awarded.
Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi beat Bayern Munich's Poland striker Robert Lewandowski to the Men’s Ballon d’Or, while Barcelona and Spain's Alexia Putellas picked up the women’s award.
Messi extends record Ballon d'Or haul
Lewandowski has yet to win the award - but would surely have claimed the trophy had it not been cancelled in 2020. For Messi, the award is almost an annual event. He is the player to have won the Ballon d’Or the most times with seven trophies. The 34-year-old, who left Barcelona for PSG in the summer, was the recipient of the most recent Men’s Ballon d’Or in 2019, having also picked up the accolade in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and this year.
The next-most frequent winner of the Men's Ballon d'Or is Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scooped the prize five times, most recently in 2017. Messi and Ronaldo’s recent domination of the award is such that, in 2018, Luka Modric was the first player outside the pair to win it since Kaká 11 years previously.
Men's Ballon d'Or: the 10 multiple winners
|Lionel Messi (Argentina)||7||2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021|
|Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)||5||2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017|
|Michel Platini (France)||3||1983, 1984, 1985|
|Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)||3||1971, 1973, 1974|
|Marco van Basten (Netherlands)||3||1988, 1989, 1992|
|Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)||2||1972, 1976|
|Ronaldo (Brazil)||2||1997, 2002|
|Alfredo di Stéfano (Argentina/Spain/Colombia)||2||1957, 1959|
|Kevin Keegan (England)||2||1978, 1979|
|Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany)||2||1980, 1981|
Hegerberg, Rapinoe and Putellas the only women's winners so far
At the 2021 gala, the Women’s Ballon d’Or was awarded for only the third time. In 2018, its inaugural year, the prize went to Ada Hegerberg of Lyon and Norway, before OL Reign and the United States’ Megan Rapinoe became its second recipient in 2019. Neither player is on this year’s 20-strong shortlist with the 2021 award going to Barcelona's Alexia Putellas.