The Ballon d’Or is an award presented to a player who has performed exceptionally well than others. The award was first given in 1956 and since then it has been continuously awarded every year without fail. The winner is chosen through a voting system of football journalists, captains of national teams and coaches. The Ballon d’Or recipient is arguably the best player in the calendar year, but over the years it has had its fair share of controversies.

 

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For the first time in its history, the Ballon d’Or will not be awarded this season due to the pandemic . Due to COVID-19, footballing schedules all over the world are disrupted and some of the leagues have even been called off. This also meant that players all over the world will not even get a chance to win the trophy. Read on as we take a look at some of the most controversial Ballon d’Or victories over the years.

3. Lionel Messi (2010)

 

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Lionel Messi is arguably the greatest footballer of all-time and has a record 6 Ballon D’ors to his name. He had a staggering 2009/10 season with Barcelona as he scored 47 goals and provided 13 assists in 52 games. With Messi’s help, the Blaugrana lifted the La Liga title. Xavi and Iniesta were placed second and third in the race of Ballon d’Or as the La Masia graduates swept away the race for the award. But many people were disheartened by the fact that Wesley Sneijder didn’t even make top-3 of the Ballon d’Or race. The Dutch maestro had won the treble with Inter Milan and had also reached the final of the FIFA World Cup 2010.

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Sneijder played a major role in Netherlands World Cup campaign and was Mourinho’s main man in the midfield for Inter Milan. Along with the treble and a place in the World Cup final, Sneijder scored 8 goals and provided 15 assists. He also assisted a goal in the Champions League final of the 2009/10 season and scored 5 goals in the World Cup for the Netherlands. A lot of people think that Wesley Sneijder deserved the Ballon d’Or that year, never mind a place on the podium.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo (2013)

 

 

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The 5-time holder of the Ballon d’Or surely has had his share of controversies throughout and his Ballon d’Or win in 2013 was one of the biggest controversies. The Portuguese legend surely had a stellar season as he scored 55 goals in 55 games for Real Madrid. But what raised eyebrows was Frank Ribery, who won the treble with Bayern Munich that season, was placed third in the Ballon d’Or race. Ribery was instrumental in Bayern Munich’s treble win and was thought as the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or. He played 43 games that season, in which he scored 11 goals and provided 23 assists, which were much less than Ronaldo’s stats. But what shocked everyone was that the voting occurred twice that time around.

As the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifications were going on, Portugal faced Sweden as both teams locked horns for a place in the World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo stood out in the tie, and led his Portugal team to the World Cup with a hattrick. Before this game, the voting for the Ballon d’Or had finished, but with an exceptional performance from Ronaldo, the magazine decided to have a second round of voting. Many people believe it would have been Ribery, had the second round of voting hadn’t happened.

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1. Pavel Nedved (2003)

 

 

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In 2003 Pavel Nedved became the second Czech player to ever be awarded the Ballon d’Or. Nedved is a Juventus legend and a great player known for his tireless energy and technical ability. But this decision to give Nedved the Ballon d’Or raised many eyebrows, because of the other two people who came in second and third position that year. Thierry Henry and Paolo Maldini were placed second and third respectively in the Ballon d’Or list. That season Thierry Henry became the first player to score and assist 20 goals in the top-5 leagues in Europe. He is still the only man in the Premier League to do so.

Henry had a stellar season with Arsenal, probably his best, finishing with very high numbers. The Frenchman scored 42 goals and provided 26 assists across all competitions that season. With his inputs, Arsenal retained the FA Cup and finished second in the Premier League. To put that into context, Nedved had just scored 14 goals and provided 17 assists throughout the season. He had won the Scudetto with Juventus and lost in the Champions League final against AC Milan, which had a certain Paolo Maldini in it. This was by far the biggest daylight robbery ever in the history of the Ballon d’Or.

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