Here’s the list of the top European clubs with most Ballon d’Or winners in their ranks throughout the history of the prestigious award.
The Catalan giants lead the clubs with most Ballon d’Or winners, having seen a player win the individual honour 11 times while playing for them. The recent dominance of Lionel Messi at the awards has definitely been the biggest reason for Barcelona’s record tally.
The Argentine has collected five Ballon d’Ors, while the two Brazilians Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, each won the gong once. Club legend Hristo Stoichkov won the award in 1994 when he was part of Johan Cruyff’s dream team; and the legendary Dutchman also won the prestigious honour twice when playing for Barcelona. Luis Suarez, the former Spain international, was the first Barcelona player to win the award, he did it in 1960.
Real Madrid (9)
Real Madrid registered their first win at the second ever Ballon d’Or awards when the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano took home the gong in 1957, he repeated his win in 1959 and in between his club team-mate Raymond Kopa had his only Ballon d’Or win. Luis Figo, Ronaldo and Fabio Cannavaro each won the award once while playing for Los Blancos, while Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or thrice since his move to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009. CR7 won his first award at Manchester United, who have had most players in Ballon d’Or three-man shortlist among English teams.
Juventus, AC Milan (8)
These two European giants are joint-third if we rank the clubs with most Ballon d’Or winners.Both Juventus and AC Milan have won the Golden trophy on eight occasions each.
Juventus legend Omar Sivori was the first winner from the club in 1961 before they won four consecutive from 1982 to 1986 – Paolo Rossi taking the win in ’82 before Michel Platini scored a hat-trick of wins. Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane and Pavel Nedved are the other winners from the Old Lady.
AC Milan had their first win in 1969 when Gianni Rivera took home the gong and they registered three successive wins with Ruud Gullit winning in 1987 before Marco van Basten won the next two and then completed his hat-trick in 1992. George Weah, Andriy Shevchenko and Kaka have each won once since.
Bayern Munich (5)
Bayern Munich had their first Ballon d’Or winner in 1970 when the legendary striker Gerd Muller won the honour before Franz Beckenbauer won one of his own two years later and then repeated the feat in 1976. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge won it in successive years – 1981 and 1982 – to swell Bayern Munich’s tally to five.
Manchester United (4)
Manchester United had their first Ballon d’Or winner in 1964 when Denis Law took home the award. Two years later, Bobby Charlton was the winner, while George Best became the last of Manchester United’s holy trinity to win the individual honour in 1958.
The Red Devils had to wait 50 years before producing another Ballon d’Or winner – the drought was broken by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008.
Dynamo Kiev, Inter Milan and Hamburg (2)
Dynamo Kiev have produced some of the greatest strikers to come out of Eastern Europe over the years. Oleg Blokhin and Igor Belanov each won a Ballon d’Or at Dynamo Kiev, while another of their products, Shevchenko, won at AC Milan.
Inter Milan won their first Ballon d’Or in 1990 through Germany legend Lothar Matthaus and added to their tally in 1997 through Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldo.
Kevin Keegan won the gong in successive years – 1978 and 1979 – while playing for the German outfit Hamburg.