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Five Best Soccer Players to never win the Ballon d’Or

Ferenc Puskas

The mighty Magyar is rightly counted amongst the greatest players to have graced the beautiful game. His goalscoring heroics are of legendary proportions. Puskas racked 84 goals in 85 international matches for the Hungarian national team and 514 goals in 529 league games.

Not just the numbers, but Puskas always got the timing right as well. The three-time European Cup winner scored seven goals in just two of those finals, including two hat-tricks – the only player to do so. He won four Pichichis for being the top scorer in the Spanish league, but the closest he came to winning the prestigious individual honour was in 1960 as he finished second behind Luis Suarez in the voting.

Diego Maradona

The Argentine has many feathers in his cap. He was the star of La Albiceleste show at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico as he drove his country to World Cup glory with a series of stupendous displays. The quarter-final victory over England which featured “the Goal of the Century” being the highlight of ‘the Maradona show’.

He also helped Napoli to their both league title wins and a solitary UEFA Cup, endearing himself to the Neapolitans. But he got no love from the Ballon d’Or voters.

Raul Gonzalez

The Real Madrid legend held the record of being the top scorer for Los Blancos until recently when his haul was overtaken by Cristiano Ronaldo. By the time his chequered career came to an end, Raul had accumulated six league titles and three Champions Leagues. He also won the Pichichi twice.

The 2000/01 season was his most prolific to date as he raked in 32 goals and expectation was high in the Spanish media of the striker finally bagging the individual honour, but he was pipped to the post by Michael Owen.

Xavi Hernandez

The Barcelona legend has come to be regarded as the greatest footballer in the history of Spanish football, and one of the greatest midfielders of all time. He was the driving force behind possibly the greatest national team as well as the greatest club team of all time.

By the time he pulled curtains on his top flight career, he had accumulated every collective glory possible. Eight league titles, four Champions Leagues, three domestic cups, a FIFA World Cup, and two European Championships are numbers that only Xavi can lay claim to. But he never won the Ballon d’Or.

The man who elevated the players around him wouldn’t care much for individual glory either.

Gianluigi Buffon

The Italian will go down as one of the greatest goalkeeper the world has ever seen. Through the course of his long and illustrious career, Buffon has gathered numerous honours and has been at the pinnacle of his game for the better part of two decades. Buffon has collected seven league titles, two domestic cups and the 2006 World Cup.

At 38, he is still soldiering on and plans to play until the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and that means the Ballon d’Or voters still have two years to correct their mistake and give the Italian the gong he deserves.