The duo has shared 11 Ballon d’Or between them, Messi having won the most with six while Ronaldo has won five.
For the first since 1956, the award won’t have a winner this year. Poland striker Robert Lewandowski seems to be front runner for this year’s award. The Bayern Munich forward has scored 51 goals in all competitions including 34 in the Bundesliga.
His goals have helped the Bavarians won the German League and DFB Pokal. He is the current top scorer in the Champions League with 11 goals. A Champions league triumph would have nailed it for the 31-year-old to win the prestigious prize but he has to wait for another time.
The Ballon d’Or is presented by French news magazine France Football and has gained prominence over the years with players jostling for it year in year out. It has rivaled the FIFA award and is generally touted as the most prestigious individual award in the world of football.
Just like the FIFA ‘The Best’ award won’t hold this year, Ballon d’Or has followed suit by canceling the award for this year due to the break in football caused by coronavirus.
The award started in 1956 with English man Stanley Matthews of Blackpool being the first winner. Since then, 25 different players have won the award form 20 countries.
Originally, from 1956 – 1994, only European players were eligible to win it hence it was known as the European Footballer of the Year award.
The template changed in 1995, the award was expanded to allow players from any origin but playing in European clubs alone have a chance to win the award.
Liberia’s George Weah playing for Italian giants AC Milan in 1995, became the first non European player to win the award. The current Liberia president is also the only African player to ever win the award till date.
Brazil’s Ronaldo de Lima was the first South American to win the award in 1997 hence becoming the youngest winner of the 64-year-old prestigious prize at the age of 21.
Lev Yashin of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) now Russia remains the only goalkeeper to win the prize. He won in 1963.
The award became a global prize in 2007 allowing all professional footballers from around the world eligible to win it.