- The Ballon d'Or ceremony, held annually to award the best player of the past year in review by France Football magazine comes on today, November 29
- No Ghanaian player has ever won the prestigious award but there are some that have come close to having their names in contention
- Before 1995, African players or as it was termed, non-European players were not eligible to be nominated for the Ballon d'OR
YEN.com.gh has taken a look at four Ghana Black Stars players who have come closest to winning the Ballon d'Or since it's inception in the year 1956.
From YEN.com.gh's analysis of all the Ghanaian players to have been named in the 30-man nominations, the likeliest to have had a better chance was Abedi Pele.
The irony however is, in that year that Abedi Ayew Pele's performances merited a Ballon d'OR, in the 1991/1992 season, where he won the French League, Africans were not eligible for nominations.
So although officially, Abedi's name is not found on the 21-ranked list of contenders, but his African Footballer of The Year prize, BBC African Footballer of the Year award, and FIFA Player of The Year nomination in 1991 is reason aplenty.
The Ballon d’Or for that year was eventually picked up by his club teammate, Jean-Pierre Papin of Olympique Marseille.
The next year, 1992, was even better for Abedi as he picked up a second straight Ligue 1 title, a second straight African Footballer of The Year, and an AFCON runner-up finish with Ghana.
Marco Van Basten, who was ranked 19th on the 1991 list of nominees, won the 1992 edition of the Ballon d'Or, ahead of Abedi, AFCON Golden Ball winner and ranked ninth in the race for the FIFA Footballer of the Year.
The following year, Abedi Ayew and his Olympique Marseille team beat Italian Giants AC Milan in the final of the UEFA Champions League, with Abedi's corner kick bringing about the only goal of the game.
The point is, although Abedi's name might be unfairly missing on the list of Ballon d'Or nominees, he more than earned a spot.
The Ghanaian Players With Votes and Nominations
1. Tony Yeboah (5 votes- 1995)
A Golden Boot winner in both England and Germany, Yeboah received five votes in 1995 as he made an excellent early impact at Leeds United.
The Ghana international scored 24 goals in his first 40 league appearances in England, and was twice named the Premier League Player of the Month in 1995.
2. Michael Essien (2 points, 2005, 0 points, 2006, 5 points 2007)
Michael Essien is the only Ghanaian player to be nominated on three different occasions from 2005 to 2007.
The Bison ended his time in France at Olympique Lyonnais, with a Ligue 1 winner’s medal, before moving to Chelsea where he’d go on to clinch another title in 2006.
Essien after loan moves to Real Madrid and AC Milan retuned to Chelsea just in time to get the UEFA Champions League winners medal he has always wanted.
3. Asamoah Gyan (0.46 per cent of total votes, 2010)
Ghana's all-time leading goal scorer, Asamoah Gyan, got Ballon d'Or nominations for his outstanding 2010, highlighted by his 5 goals to send the Black Stars to the semi finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Ghanaian UEFA Champions League winners
As the 2021 UEFA Champions League group stages fixture continue on Tuesday, YEN.com.gh has taken a look at Ghana's winners medalists in the history of the competition.
House-hold names like Michael Essien, Abedi Ayew Pele, all feature in the five-man list, as Ghana remains the African country with the most winners ever.