The Ballon d’Or award is considered to be the most prestigious individual award in football history, therefore many great footballers make it their goal to win it at least once in their career.
In this article, we are going to be looking at five great players in the 21st century that failed to win a Ballon d’Or award.
- Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry is regarded by many as the greatest players in Premier League history due to his exploits for Arsenal in the late 90s and the early 2000s.
The Frenchman helped the Gunners secure the 2003/04 Premier League title unbeaten. Despite his brilliance, Thierry Henry only finished third place in the running for the Ballon d’Or.
- Xavi Hernandez
Xavi is one of the most decorated footballers in the history of the game. He was a talismanic figure for Barcelona and the Spanish national team that dominated club and international football from 2008-2012.
Xavi possessed great vision and composure on the ball. However, Xavi Hernandez could only settle for a third place finish two separate times in the Ballon d’Or award podium.
- Andreas Iniesta
Andreas Iniesta like his teammate Xavi, was an important player for Barcelona and the Spanish national team, when they scooped every trophy the football of world had to offer from 2008-2012.
Iniesta is an attacking midfielder known for his dribbling and playmaking ability. His goal against the Netherlands won Spain the FIFA World Cup back in 2010.
For all his exploits, Andreas Iniesta could only manage third and second place finishes for the Ballon d’Or award.
- Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben
The pair were arguably the greatest wing duo of all time. Both players were unstoppable in their prime years for Bayern Munich. Known for their dribbling, playmaking and goalscorer abilities, the pair helped Bayern Munich to multiple titles both domestically and in Europe.
It was Franck Ribery who came the closest to winning the Ballon d’Or award in 2014, but finished third behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.