Ballon d’Or season is in full swing, and the nominations have been revealed!
It is 10 years since Juventus attacker Cristiano Ronaldo first won the award, marking the start of an unprecedented duopoly between the Portuguese and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
The last winner outside of the superhuman pair is Kaka, the Brazilian playmaker who won the prize in 2007.
Defender Fabio Cannavaro was victorious in 2006, while Ronaldinho, Andriy Shevchenko and Pavel Nedved were successful in 2005, 2004 and 2003 respectively.
The last English winner was Michael Owen in 2001, but Ronaldo and Messi have established a stunning stranglehold, winning five each.
Only Michel Platini, Johann Cruyff and Marco van Basten have won three of the awards, while Germany duo Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Brazil’s Ronaldo, Spain’s Alfredo Di Stefano and England’s Kevin Keegan have won two apiece.
It remains to be seen, however, if Ronaldo or Messi will be successful again this year, after Luka Modric won the FIFA Best Men’s Player of the Year award.
The Ballon d’Or has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, with former England international Sir Stanley Matthews the first winner.
The list is compiled by the editorial staff of the French publication, with the winner voted for by journalists from around the world, with one representative per nation.
For six years it combined with world football’s governing body to become the Fifa Ballon d’Or.
However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September 2016.
At Fifa’s awards in September, Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric was named the world’s best male player, while Brazil and Orlando Pride forward Marta won the best female player award.