Puskas was the leading figure of the Mighty Magyars as they dominated the world of football in the 1950s, and are regarded amongst the greatest international sides of all time. Puskas was a prolific goalscorer for his national team as well as Budapest Honved for whom he scored at the rate of more than a goal per game. His numbers for the national team reads an astonishing 84 goals from 85 games.
The forward enjoyed a stellar career at Real Madrid upon his transfer to the Spanish side in 1958 and went on to score 156 goals from 180 league games, helping the team to five league titles and three European Cups. However, the best he could manage at the Ballon d’Or was a runner-up finish in 1960.
The Scotsman was at the centre of the greatest team that Liverpool have assembled. He transferred from Celtic to the Reds in 1977 and through the course of a 14-year stint in Liverpool, he won six league titles, three European Cups, four League Cups, and the 1986 FA Cup.
He earned 102 caps for the Scotland national team and was the leading goalscorer for the side with 30 goals when he hanged his boots. In 2006 he topped a Liverpool fans’ poll of “100 Players Who Shook the Kop”. However, he couldn’t go further than his second place finish at the 1983 Ballon d’Or awards.
One of the greatest players to have ever played the beautiful game, Maradona is widely feted for his heroics at the 1986 World Cup, when he guided a team devoid of any star power to the ultimate glory. His performances at times defied belief and it wouldn’t have been possible for La Albiceleste to win their second world title without Maradona.
His influence on Serie A outfit Napoli was also profound. He helped the provincial side to their only two league titles as well as their only UEFA Cup. However, he couldn’t win the Ballon d’Or.
The Brazilian forward remains one of the most prolific goalscorers the game has ever seen. He scored 96 goals from 107 league matches for Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven, helping them to three Eredivisie titles and two KNVB Cups. Romario’s two years at Barcelona saw him net 39 times from 47 games.
He had a decorated career with the Brazil national team as well as he won the 1994 World Cup, two Copa Americas and the 1997 Confederations Cup. But the Ballon d’Or eluded him.
The Frenchman is regarded amongst the greatest modern day strikers. A prolific goalscorer, he was the lynchpin of Arsenal during their most successful years. By the time he left the Gunners in 2007, Henry had won two league titles and three FA Cups and had become the leading goalscorer in the club’s history. He won the missing Champions League from his collection at Barcelona in 2009.
At the international level as well Henry won all there was to win, with the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championship. However, he could only manage a third place and a runner-up finish at the Ballon d’Or.