Ballon D'or Recipients Also Win The Champions League

Ballon d’Or: How often recipients also win the Champions League

Note: Unless otherwise stated, any reference to the UEFA Champions League includes the competition as it is currently known and when it was commonly known as the “European Cup”.

Of the 63 previous men’s Ballon d’Or winners prior to 2019, 13 have gone on to lift the European Cup at the end of the season (20%).

It is common in the current era for a player from the team which holds the UEFA Champions League to win the Ballon d’Or, but this was not always the case.

All of the last five Ballon d’Or titles have been won by players from the team which held the UEFA Champions League at the time. 

Lionel Messi won in 2015 after Barcelona wrapped up the treble, with Cristiano Ronaldo claiming the next two titles off the back of Real Madrid’s Champions League triumphs. Los Blancos made it a hat-trick of European Cups in 2018 and Luka Modric earned the Ballon d’Or on that occasion. 

Altogether, only 20 of the 63 Ballon d’Or winners have come from clubs which held the European Cup. This includes players such as Brazil’s Ronaldo, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2002 shortly after his move to the then European champions Real Madrid, although he played for Inter Milan in 2001-02.

Ballon d’Or winner = Champions League winner?

Uclplayerwinningthatyearpreviousyear
Previous year refers to players coming from a club which held the UCL in the year of the award.

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The Ballon d’Or is presented annually by French weekly magazine France Football. The men’s prize has existed since 1956 and merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award between 2010 to 2015.

Until 1995, the Ballon d’Or honoured the best European player of the year, but the scope was expanded in that same year to allow winners from other continents, provided they had been active at European clubs.

Players with most Ballon d’Or wins

Messi and Ronaldo share the record for the most Ballon d’Or titles with five apiece (not including the 2019 award). 

Mostballondorwinners Players

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Clubs with most Ballon d’Or wins

Barcelona and Real Madrid are the most successful clubs in the competition’s history, with 11 wins apiece from their players.

Mostballondorwinners Clubs

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Doing the Ballon d’Or double

Notable, too, is the number of times a player has come from a club which both held and went on to with the Champions League. That’s happened on just seven occasions.

2017Cristiano Ronaldo
2016Cristiano Ronaldo
1989Marco van Basten
1971Johan Cruyff
1959Alfredo Di Stéfano
1958Raymond Kopa
1957Alfredo Di Stéfano
Uclplayerwinningbothyears

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It’s a far more frequent occurrence for the Ballon d’Or winner to come from a club who neither held nor went on to win the UCL – the case a whopping 37 times.

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