The Ballon d’Or is arguably the most prestigious football award an individual can win. Whilst Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have held the trophy most commonly in recent years, it is one sought after by many as a symbol of being the best footballer in the world.
Ballon d’Or Winners if Only English Clubs Were Involved
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Dominate but Different Story if European Clubs Removed
The Ballon d’Or award recognises the male player regarded to have performed the best over the previous 12 months.
From 1956 to 2006, the award was decided upon by votes from football journalists; from 2007, however, coaches and captains of national teams were given the right to cast their ballot.
What started as an award only for players from Europe – known as the European Football of the Year award – became in 1995 an award for all players that have been active at European clubs.
Since 2007 it has been an achievable award for all professional footballers regardless of their place of origin and playing.
If the competition was only applicable for players competing in England, the list of winners of the Ballon d’Or would be very different.
Who Would Have Won the Ballon d’Or if Only English Clubs Were Involved?
Only two times has someone other than Messi or Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or since 2007. AC Milan midfielder Kaka won the top award in 2007, while Luka Modric pipped Ronald to the gong in 2018.
The last time an Englishman won the award, however, was in 2001 when Michael Owen became just the fourth England national to take the prize.
Last Word on Football has gone through the results from the last ten years and compared how differently things could have been had only players associated to English clubs been eligible for the award.
2019 – Virgil van Dijk (1st, Liverpool), Sadio Mane (2nd, Liverpool), Mohamad Salah (3rd, Liverpool)
2018 – Mohamad Salah (1st, Liverpool), Eden Hazard (2nd, Chelsea), Kevin de Bruyne (3rd, Manchester City)
2017 – N’Golo Kante (1st, Chelsea), Harry Kane (2nd, Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin de Bruyne (3rd, Manchester City)
2016 – Riyad Mahrez (1st, Leicester City), Jamie Vardy (2nd, Leicester City), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (3rd, PSG and Manchester United)
2015 – Eden Hazard (1st, Chelsea), Alexis Sanchez (2nd, Arsenal), Yaya Toure (3rd, Manchester City)
2014 – Angel di Maria (1st, Real Madrid and Manchester United), Diego Costa (2nd, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea), Yaya Toure (3rd, Manchester City)
2013 – Robin van Persie (1st, Manchester United), Gareth Bale (2nd, Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid), Yaya Toure (3rd, Manchester City)
2012 – Didier Drogba (1st, Chelsea and Shanghai Shenhua), Robin van Persie (2nd, Arsenal and Manchester United), Yaya Toure (3rd, Manchester City)
2011 – Wayne Rooney (1st, Manchester United), Luis Suarez (2nd, Ajax and Liverpool), Sergio Aguero (3rd, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City)