Lionel Messi has won the 2009 Ballon d’Or, awarded to the European footballer of the year, after inspiring Barcelona to the treble last season. The forward was outstanding as the Catalan club won the Champions League, the Spanish title and the Copa del Rey.
Messi beat last year’s winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, into second place by a record margin and becomes the sixth Barcelona player to take the award and the first since Brazil’s Ronaldinho in 2005.
The Argentina international, 22, was the top scorer in last season’s Champions League with nine goals, including his header in the 2-0 victory in the final over Manchester United, for whom Ronaldo was playing his final match before joining Real Madrid. He also scored six times in the Copa del Rey and found the net on 23 occasions in the Spanish league.
Barcelona effectively had four players in the top five, with Xavi third and Andrés Iniesta fourth ahead of the former Barça player Samuel Eto’o, who is now with Internazionale.
Wayne Rooney was the highest placed England international in eighth. Immediately behind him are more Premier League players in Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Cesc Fábregas.
2009 Ballon D’Or Standings
1 Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), 473 points
2 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), 233
3 Xavi (Spain, Barcelona), 170
4 Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), 149
5 Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon, Internazionale), 75
6 Kaká (Brazil, Real Madrid), 58
7 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Barcelona), 50
8 Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United), 35
9 Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea), 33
10 Steven Gerrard (England, Liverpool), 32
11 Fernando Torres (Spain, Liverpool), 22
12 Cesc Fábregas (Spain, Arsenal), 13
13 Edin Dzeko (Bosnia, Wolfsburg), 12
14 Ryan Giggs (Wales, Manchester United), 11
15 Thierry Henry (France, Barcelona), 9
16= Luis Fabiano (Brazil, Sevilla) 8
16= Nemanja Vidic (Serbia, Manchester United), 8
16= Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid), 8
19 Diego Forlan (Uruguay, Atlético Madrid), 7
20 Yoann Gourcuff (France, Bordeaux), 6
21= Andrey Arshavin (Russia, Arsenal), 5
21= Júlio César (Brazil, Inter), 5
21= Frank Lampard (England, Chelsea), 5
24 Maicon (Brazil, Inter), 4
25 Diego (Brazil, Juventus), 3
26= David Villa (Spain, Valencia), 2
26= John Terry (England, Chelsea), 2
28 Franck Ribéry (France, Bayern Munich), 1
28= Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast, Barcelona), 1
30 Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid), 0
Ballon D’Or History
Considered the pinnacle of personal awards in Football, the Ballon d’Or has had a rich history through out the last quarter of a century, indeed no other award can lay claim to the influence the Ballon d’Or has had. Be it the transformation of great players into legendary players or influencing the transfer policies of some of the world’s biggest club.
How did it all come about though? Where did the Ballon d’Or begin? To answer that question we need to look at the man who is considered to be the grand father of European football as we know it today – Gabriel Hanot.
Hanot was a truly remarkable man, a fully capped international for France he would go onto be the Manager of the French national team, whilst at the same time being a Journalist for French Football magazine L’Equipe.
This unconventional arrangement would end in a rather amusing way. After a 5-1 defeat to Spain, Hanot in his role as a Journalist berated the players and then followed up with a unsigned article calling for the resignation of himself. Sure enough, the following day Hanot the coach uncerimonyiasly resigned from his post.
Looking back, European Football can probably be thankful for Hanot’s split personality. With his mangerial career out of the way he was able to focus on Journalism and as a bi product European Football in general. Hanot made three major contributions to European Football as we know it. First he played an important role in Professionalising Football, a trend that would occur all over the World.
His Second achievement was perhaps his most famous, whilst watching Wolves defeat several European opponents, he was struck by their claim that they were now the best team in the world. Inspired, Hanot went about formalising a plan for the first European competition, finally he said we could know just who was the best team in the World! Just like that the European Cup was born, which of course today has involved into the Champions League.
His third idea, whilst perhaps not as famous is what we are concerned about with today. I’m of course talking about the Ballon d’Or. Hanot was occupying the role of Chief Magazine Writer for France Football when he asked his fellow Journalists to vote on who they felt was the best European Footballer over the past season in 1952. The answer was Blackpool’s Sir Stanley Matthews and so just like that the Ballon d’Or was born.
For almost 40 years the award remained unchanged. A select panel of European Journalists would vote on who they felt the best European footballer of the season had been. It wasn’t until 1995 after many years of pressure, that non European players (These non European players had to be plying their trade in Europe however) became eligible for the Ballon d’Or. As fate would have it George Weah the Liberian genius won the award in the very year the rules were first changed!
In 2007 the rules were changed once again to give us the rules that currently exist today. Today any player from any nationality playing in any country can be nominated for the Ballon d’Or. Nominations are now handled by a 96 select Journalists across the world, who select their top five players. Points are assigned for each nomination.
The most recent winner of the Ballon d’Or was of course Cristiano Ronaldo, primarily for his efforts in propelling Manchester United to a league and Champions League double. Ronaldo scored a remarkable 42 goals in that season and won the Ballon d’Or with 446 votes. His nearest rival Leo Messi had 281 votes, whilst Fernando Torres who finished third had 179 votes.
Ballon D’Or Winners:
|2nd||Alfredo di Stéfano||Spain||Real Madrid||44|
|3rd||Raymond Kopa||France||Real Madrid||33|
|1957||1st||Alfredo di Stéfano||Spain||Real Madrid||72|
|2nd||Billy Wright||England||Wolverhampton Wanderers||19|
|3rd=||Raymond Kopa||France||Real Madrid||16|
|3rd=||Duncan Edwards||England||Manchester United||16|
|1958||1st||Raymond Kopa||France||Real Madrid||71|
|2nd||Helmut Rahn||West Germany||Rot-Weiss Essen||40|
|3rd||Just Fontaine||France||Stade Reims||23|
|1959||1st||Alfredo di Stéfano||Spain||Real Madrid||80|
|2nd||Raymond Kopa||France||Real Madrid||42|
|2nd||Ferenc Puskás||Hungary||Real Madrid||37|
|3rd||Uwe Seeler||West Germany||Hamburg||33|
|1962||1st||Josef Masopust||Czechoslovakia||Dukla Prague||65|
|3rd||Karl-Heinz Schnellinger||West Germany||Köln||33|
|1963||1st||Lev Yashin||Soviet Union||Dynamo Moscow||73|
|3rd||Jimmy Greaves||England||Tottenham Hotspur||50|
|1964||1st||Denis Law||Scotland||Manchester United||61|
|1966||1st||Bobby Charlton||England||Manchester United||81|
|3rd||Franz Beckenbauer||West Germany||Bayern Munich||59|
|2nd||Bobby Charlton||England||Manchester United||40|
|1968||1st||George Best||Northern Ireland||Manchester United||61|
|2nd||Bobby Charlton||England||Manchester United||53|
|3rd||Dragan Džajić||Yugoslavia||Red Star Belgrade||46|
|3rd||Gerd Müller||West Germany||Bayern Munich||38|
|1970||1st||Gerd Müller||West Germany||Bayern Munich||77|
|2nd||Bobby Moore||England||West Ham United||70|
|3rd||George Best||Northern Ireland||Manchester United||56|
|1972||1st||Franz Beckenbauer||West Germany||Bayern Munich||81|
|2nd=||Gerd Müller||West Germany||Bayern Munich||79|
|2nd=||Günter Netzer||West Germany||Borussia Mönchengladbach||79|
|3rd||Gerd Müller||West Germany||Bayern Munich||44|
|2nd||Franz Beckenbauer||West Germany||Bayern Munich||105|
|3rd||Kazimierz Deyna||Poland||Legia Warsaw||35|
|1975||1st||Oleg Blokhin||Soviet Union||Dynamo Kyiv||122|
|2nd||Franz Beckenbauer||West Germany||Bayern Munich||42|
|1976||1st||Franz Beckenbauer||West Germany||Bayern Munich||91|
|3rd||Ivo Viktor||Czechoslovakia||Dukla Prague||52|
|1977||1st||Allan Simonsen||Denmark||Borussia Mönchengladbach||74|
|2nd||Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||West Germany||Bayern Munich||52|
|1980||1st||Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||West Germany||Bayern Munich||122|
|2nd||Bernd Schuster||West Germany||Barcelona||34|
|1981||1st||Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||West Germany||Bayern Munich||106|
|2nd||Paul Breitner||West Germany||Bayern Munich||64|
|3rd||Bernd Schuster||West Germany||Barcelona||39|
|3rd||Bernd Schuster||West Germany||Barcelona||46|
|1986||1st||Igor Belanov||Soviet Union||Dynamo Kyiv||84|
|3rd||Emilio Butragueño||Spain||Real Madrid||59|
|2nd||Paulo Futre||Portugal||Atlético Madrid||91|
|3rd||Emilio Butragueño||Spain||Real Madrid||61|
|1988||1st||Marco van Basten||Netherlands||Milan||129|
|1989||1st||Marco van Basten||Netherlands||Milan||119|
|2nd=||Dejan Savićević||Yugoslavia||Red Star Belgrade||42|
|2nd=||Darko Pančev||Yugoslavia||Red Star Belgrade||42|
|1992||1st||Marco van Basten||Netherlands||Milan||98|
|3rd||Eric Cantona||France||Manchester United||34|
|2nd||Jürgen Klinsmann||Germany||Bayern Munich||108|
|1996||1st||Matthias Sammer||Germany||Borussia Dortmund||144|
|3rd||Alan Shearer||England||Newcastle United||107|
|2nd||Predrag Mijatović||Yugoslavia||Real Madrid||68|
|2nd||Davor Šuker||Croatia||Real Madrid||68|
|2nd||David Beckham||England||Manchester United||154|
|2000||1st||Luís Figo||Portugal||Real Madrid||197|
|3rd||Oliver Kahn||Germany||Bayern Munich||114|
|2nd||Roberto Carlos||Brazil||Real Madrid||145|
|3rd||Oliver Kahn||Germany||Bayern Munich||110|
|2003||1st||Pavel Nedvěd||Czech Republic||Juventus||190|
|2006||1st||Fabio Cannavaro||Italy||Real Madrid||173|
|2nd||Cristiano Ronaldo||Portugal||Manchester United||277|
|2008||1st||Cristiano Ronaldo||Portugal||Manchester United||446|
Ballon D’Or Trivia:
Michel Platini is the only player to have won the award three times in a row; he won the award from 1983 to 1985.
Ronaldo was the first Brazilian to win the award in 1997.
George Weah was the first non european to win the award in 1995.
German and Dutch players each share the record for winning the Ballon d’Or on seven different occasions.
The most successful clubs have been Milan and Juventus, with each team having had six players when the award whilst playing in their colours, although each team has eight awards.