Ranking the Top 6 Footballers With Most Ballon d’Or Nominations

Ranking the Top 6 Footballers With Most Ballon d’Or Nominations

Isaac Darko
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
  • Lionel Messi holds the record for the highest number of Ballon d'Or wins
  • France Football is the entity responsible for presenting the Ballon d'Or award
  • Here are six footballers with the highest number of Ballon d'Or nominations

With Lionel Messi securing his 8th Ballon d'Or award this year, anticipation is building over who will clinch this prestigious trophy in the coming year.

Over time, the Ballon d'Or has consistently served as the yardstick for determining the best footballer annually, with the most exceptional players in the history of the beautiful game having claimed the coveted award.

Footballers with the highest number of Ballon d'Or nominations, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo
Here are footballers with the highest number of Ballon d'Or nominations. Photos by VI Images/Aurelien Meunier/ Jamie McDonald
Source: Getty Images

Earning a nomination automatically places a player among the 30 best footballers globally—an accomplishment in its own right.

In the upcoming year, contenders like Jude Bellingham, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, and others will compete for the esteemed accolade.

Sports Brief delves into the top six footballers with the highest number of Ballon d'Or nominations.

6. Karim Benzema (12 nominations)

Following a remarkable season with Real Madrid, Karim Benzema emerges as one of the frontrunners for the 2022 Ballon d'Or. The French striker has played a pivotal role in the highly successful Real Madrid squad over the past decade.

With his nomination for this year's Ballon d'Or, Benzema's tally now reaches 12 nominations. In the previous edition, he achieved his highest ranking, finishing fourth in the Ballon d'Or standings. Should Benzema secure the trophy this season, he would become the first French player to do so since Zinedine Zidane in 1998.

5. Franz Beckenbauer (12 nominations)

Beckenbauer is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He stands among the select few individuals globally who have achieved the remarkable feat of winning the World Cup both as a player and as a manager.

His illustrious football career boasts a comprehensive collection of victories, including two Ballon d'Or awards. Additionally, Beckenbauer holds the record for the highest number of Ballon d'Or nominations for any German international, having been nominated for the prestigious award 12 times.

4. Johan Cruyff (12 nominations)

Johan Cruyff stands as one of the most transformative figures in contemporary football. Through his contributions as both a player and a manager, he orchestrated a significant shift in the identities of Ajax and FC Barcelona.

His distinctive style of football has since become a global influence. Cruyff also guided his national team to the finals of two World Cups.

As a former forward for FC Barcelona, he earned 12 Ballon d'Or nominations and secured the prestigious award on three occasions, making him the first player in history to achieve this feat.

3. Paolo Maldini (13 nominations)

Regarded as the premier left-back in the history of football, Maldini enjoyed a highly successful career with AC Milan spanning over two decades. Despite being nominated for the Ballon d'Or a remarkable 13 times, the 53-year-old never clinched the coveted trophy.

This distinction makes him the player with the most nominations who never secured the award. Maldini's closest brush with the accolade occurred in 2003 when he finished in third place.

2. Lionel Messi (15 nominations)

Similar to his PSG compatriot Neymar, Messi finds himself absent from this year's Ballon d'Or nominations. However, this setback may not weigh heavily on the Argentine, given that he already holds the record for the most Ballon d'Or victories.

The former Barcelona star has claimed the prestigious award seven times, including the most recent edition. Notably, Messi secured his inaugural Ballon d'Or in 2009 and remains the only player to win it four consecutive times.

Despite missing out on the current nominations, the PSG forward has been nominated an impressive 15 times throughout his career.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (19 nominations)

Over the past fifteen years, the Ballon d'Or has predominantly been a contest between Messi and Ronaldo.

While Messi boasts the record for the most Ballon d'Or victories, Cristiano Ronaldo holds the distinction of having the most nominations, with 19, including the current year.

His initial nomination occurred in 2004 when he was a mere 19 years old. The Portuguese international has clinched the Ballon d'Or on five occasions, with his first win in 2008 and his most recent in 2017.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)