You might probably know that with a total of 6 Ballon d’or trophies won to this date (May 2021), Lionel Messi of Argentina is leading the table of most Ballon d’or winners. Well, but what nation is honored with the most number of Ballon d’or trophies? Argentina? Wrong!
If you thought of Argentina as leading the nations of the world concerning the number of Ballon d’or trophies won, we should say you’re wrong. Just don’t let the number of Ballon d’or trophies Messi has won fool you!
In fact, Argentina is among the
countries with most Ballon d’or trophies
won, but it’s not actually leading the way. Messi has done his share in winning Ballon d’or trophies for Argentina, but unfortunate enough for his country, he’s the only Argentinian Ballon d’or winner, so, even his 6 trophies has not helped Argentina to become the number-one country concerning the most Ballon d’or trophies won.
Well then, apart from which individual footballers have won more Ballon d’or trophies to this date, we have a list of countries with most Ballon d’or trophies to present you with, but that’s not all.
Other than letting you know about the nations with most Ballon d'or trophies in this post, we will also let you know about the ratio of Ballon d’or wins to footballers for each country. We mean we will let you know about the Ballon d’or trophies each country’s footballer has won by average and then list the countries again based on this ratio.
And also we will list the countries for you based on their number of Ballon d’or winners and not the number of trophies won by them. That’s a different story and the list is also different. So, stay with us to see which country tops the list when the criteria change.
Here comes the list of countries with most Ballon d’or trophies won:
Each of these nations has won 7 Ballon d’or trophies until now (May, 2021) and actually tops the list of nations with most Ballon d'or trophies jointly with the two other. Well, if we just prioritize Ballon-d’or-wins-to-footballer ratio, or in other words, the average number of Ballon d’or trophies won by each footballer from each of the nations above, then Portugal and Netherlands are ahead of Germany.
For both Portugal and Netherlands, three footballers have won 7 Ballon d’or trophies which means each footballer from both these nations has won 2.5 Ballon d’or trophies by average. For Portugal, the most prominent Ballon d’or winner isCristiano Ronaldo
with 5 trophies in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. It is also noteworthy here to mention that Ronaldo also finished runner-up 6 times in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2018 in Ballon d’or contest.
The other two Portuguese footballers who won the Ballon d’or trophy during their careers are Eusebio in 1965 and Luis Figo in 2000. For Netherlands, two footballers, namely the legendary Johan Cryuff and Marco van Basten, have won 3 Ballon d’or trophies each in 1971, 1973, and 1974, and 1988, 1989, and 1992, respectively. The other Dutch footballer who won the Ballon d’or trophy once is Ruud Gullit and in 1987.
For Germany, the average Ballon d’or wins for each footballer is 1.4 since it is five German footballers who have won 7 Ballon d’or trophies. However, the wins are more evenly distributed among them than the two other nations mentioned above: Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge each two Ballon d’or trophies in 1972 and 1976, and 1980 and 1981, respectively, and the legendary Gerd Muller, Lothar Matthaus, and Matthias Sammer each one trophy in 1970, 1990, and 1996, again respectively.
It is also noteworthy to mention here that Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge finished runner-up twice in 1974 and 1975 and once in 1979 in Ballon d’or contest, respectively, with the former also finishing third in the 1966 edition of the contest. Gerd Muller also finished runner-up once in 1979 and third twice in 1969 and 1973. And Lothar Matthaus? He only finished runner-up once in 1991.
If we just list these three countries with most Ballon d’or trophies - we mean Germany, Netherlands and Portugal - based on the number of their Ballon d’or winners, then, as you might guess, Germany with 5 Ballon d’or winners is ahead of Netherlands and Portugal each with 3. One interesting fact here is that among all the nations in the world, it is only Germany and Netherlands whose footballers won the first to third place in Ballon d’or contest: Germany in 1981 and Netherlands in 1988. For Germany they were Kal-Heinz Rummenigge, Paul Breitner, and Bernd Schuster, and for Netherlands, Marco van Basten, Ruud Gullit, and Frank Rijkaard (from 1st to 3rd).
The second countries with most Ballon d’or trophies, both France and Argentina have won 6 Ballon d’or trophies in football history - in fact to this date. While France’s 6 Ballon d’or trophies have been won by four French footballers, all the Argentina’s Ballon d’ors have been won only by one footballer:Lionel Messi
, as you might have guessed.
In other words, despite the fact that Argentina has had great footballers such as Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta, Lionel Messi alone has led Argentina to the second place on the list of
nations with most Ballon d'or trophies
. Quite an honor for him! If we list countries based on the Ballon-d’or-wins-to-footballer ratio, then Argentina comes first with a ratio of 6 and with a wide margin with the leading nations, Nehterlands and Portugal, who have a ratio of 2.5.
However, if we list the countries based on their Ballon d’or winners, then Argentina falls down to 8th place since it has only one Ballon d’or winner. But for France the case is different. France has 4 Ballon d’or winners and comes actually on the second place based on this criterion after Italy and Germany each with 5 winners.
France’s Ballon d’or winners are Michel Platini, Jean-Pierre Papin, the great Zinedine Zidane, and Raymond Kopa. The only footballer among these 4 who has won the Ballon d’or trophy more than once is Michel Platini. He actually won three consecutive Ballon d’or trophies from 1983 to 1985. This is what no other footballer has ever achieved; we mean no other footballer with 3 or more Ballon d’or trophies has won his trophies in sequence. Michel Platini also finished third twice in 1977 and 1980 in the same trophy contest.
And you might probably guess that the 3 remaining Ballon d’or trophies were won by the three remaining French footballers from the four we mentioned above. But in what year? Well, Jean-Pierre Papin won his trophy in 1991, Zinedine Zidane in 1998, and Raymond Kopa in 1958. We should also here mention that the three great French footballers, namely Thierry Henry, Frank Ribery, andAntoine Griezmann
, finished third at least once in Ballon d’or contest during their careers with Thierry Henry getting near to win the trophy in 2003 where he finished second behind Pavel Nedved of Czech.
And here come the third
countries with most Ballon d’or trophies
: Italy, Brazil, and England. Their stats are almost the same except for Italy whose Ballon d’or winners are one more than the two other countries. Italy has actually won five Ballon d’or trophies by five footballers while for the two other nations - Brazil and England - it is by four footballers.
Well, let’s see which Italian footballers have won the honorable trophy and in what year. By chronological order, they are Omar Sivori, Gianni Rivera, Paolo Rossi, Roberto Baggio, and Fabio Cannavaro who won the Ballon d’or trophy in 1961, 1969, 1982, 1993, and 2006, respectively.
It is also noteworthy to mention that there are a handful of great Italian footballers who, although they did not win a Ballon d’or trophy during their careers, they finished as runner-up. Some of them are Franco Baresi in 1989, Salvatore Schillaci in 1990,Gianluigi Buffon
in 2006, Giacinto Facchetti in 1965, and Dino Zoff in 1973.
For Brazil, unfortunately Pele is not among the Ballon d’or winners, however, Ronaldo has won two Ballon d’ors instead once in 1997 and another time in 2002. The rest three Ballon d’or trophies were actually reaped by Rivaldo in 1999, Ronaldinho in 2005, and Kaka in 2007. Among top Brazilian footballers,Neymar
has finished third twice in 2015 and 2017 and Roberto Carlos second in 2002.
The interesting fact about Brazil is that, unlike some other nations who have their wins dating back to 1950s and 60s like Spain and England, they have won all their Ballon d’ors from 1997 on; and old nation in the history of football and a young one concerning Ballon d’or wins.
And England; as already mentioned they have their Ballon d’or wins dating back to 1950s and 1960s. In fact, the winner of the first Ballon d’or trophy in its history is Sir Stanley Mathews of England. Then comes Sir Bobby Charlton who won the honorable trophy in 1966, and Kevin Keegan who won it twice and consecutively in 1978 and 1979. 1980s and 1990s had no Ballon d’or trophy for England in the bag until Michael Owen once again won the trophy in 2001. This was actually the last time England won a Ballon d’or trophy.
And the sad thing here for England is that no English footballer has finished even on the second or third place in the Ballon d’or contest since 2005; after actually Frank Lampard and Steven Gerard finished second and third in the 2005 edition of the same contest.
Well, you might ask how a country that is no more could be among the countries with most Ballon d’or trophies. The answer is that they actually won the trophy when they were still a nation in the world. You know Ballon d’or is as old as 65 years, and back at those times Soviet Union still existed. In fact, we should say that Soviet Union was actually a force in football to win three Ballon d’ors just in 30 years before its official end in 1991.
The footballers who won the Ballon d’or trophy for Soviet Union, in chronological order, are the legendary Lev Yashin in 1963, Oleg Blokhin in 1975, and Igor Belanov in 1986. However, there were no Soviet Union footballer who finished second or third in the trophy’s history.
Spain is actually the country that has not won any Ballon d’or trophy since 1960, yet it is among the countries with most Ballon d’or trophies won. Just thanks to Alfredo Di Stefano and Luis Suarez who made a name for their country among the countries with most Ballon d’or trophies. Di Stefano actually won the prize twice; once in 1957 and another in 1959, and Luis Suarez only in 1960, though he also finished second in 1961 and 1964 and third in 1965.
That’s really a big question why Spain has not won any Ballon d’or trophy in such a long time despite producing top players such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Fernando Torres, and even winning FIFA World Cup in 2010. However, one thing is for sure: Most of the footballers who have won the Ballon d’or trophy since 2009 have been a member of top La Liga clubs,Barcelona
and Real Madrid, at the time they won the trophy.
Since there are 10 countries with one Ballon d’or trophy won so far, we didn’t name them in the title. Here they are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Hungary, Liberia, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Ukraine. Each of these countries have won one Ballon d’or trophy in the history of the trophy, but the question is that specifically which players have won it for them.
For Bulgaria, it is Hristo Stoichkov and in 1994; for Croatia, Luka Modric in 2018; for Czech Republic, Pavel Nedved in 2003; for Czechoslovakia, Josef Masopust in 1962; for Denmark, Allan Simonsen in 1977; for Hungary, Florian Albert in 1967; for Liberia, George Weah in 1995; for Northern Ireland, George Best in 1968; for Scotland, Denis Law in 1964, and finally for Ukraine, Andriy Shevchenko in 2004.
It is also noteworthy to mention that there are also footballers from nations above who have finished second or third in the Ballon d’or contest like Davor Suker of Croatia who finished second in 1998 behind Zinedine Zidane, Preben Elkjær of Denmark who finished second in 1985 before Michel Platini, and Ferenc Puskas of Hungary who finished second in 1960 after Luis Suarez.
We have here three lists which are actually based on three different criteria. The first list is actually the list of
countries with most Ballon d’or trophies
regardless of the number of winners each country has had. The second list, however, is based on the number of Ballon d’or winners each country has had and not actually the number of wins. And finally the third list is based on the Ballon-d’or-win-to-footballer ratio or in other words the average Ballon d’or trophies each footballer from a specific country has won.
Well, here comes the first list. Please consider that ten countries of Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Hungary, Liberia, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Ukraine are referred to in all the three lists as “the rest”. All these countries have actually won one Ballon d’or trophy by one footballer and all have the last position on the lists.
Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Wins: 7
France, Argentina, Wins: 6
Italy, Brazil, England, Wins: 5
Soviet Union, Spain, Wins: 3
The rest, Wins: 1
Germany, Italy, Winners: 5
Brazil, England, France, Winners: 4
Netherlands, Portugal, Soviet Union, Winners: 3
Spain, Winners: 2
Argentina and the rest, Winners: 1
Argentina, Wins: 6, Winners: 1, Average: 6
Netherlands, Portugal, Wins: 7, Winners: 3, Average: 2.5
France, Wins: 6, Winners: 4, Average: 1.5
Spain, Wins: 3, Winners: 2, Average: 1.5
Germany, Wins: 7, Winners: 5, Average: 1.4
Brazil, England, Wins: 6, Winners: 4, Average: 1.25
Italy, Wins: 5, Winners: 5, Average: 1
Soviet Union, Wins: 3, Winners: 3, Average: 1
The rest, Win: 1, Winner: 1, Average: 1