5 Top Footballers Who Have Received the Most Individual Awards

  • Lionel Messi was named FIFA the Best winner on Monday
  • The Argentine has won the award for a record seventh time
  • Here are five players who have won the most individual awards

Even though football is a team sport, individual awards still matter. Awards like Ballon d’Or and FIFA The Best are still the most prestigious of all.

On Monday, February 27, Lionel Messi was named the Best Men’s Player after an outstanding year for club and country, becoming the third player to receive the accolade twice, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski.

The 35-year-old won the gong ahead of finalists Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema, winning the coveted award for a record-extending seventh time.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Nazario

According to FIFA, Messi polled 52 points, Mbappe came in second with 44, while France and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema got 34 points.

Here are five of the great footballers who have won the most individual awards.

Lionel Messi

It seems the GOAT debate has finally been settled after Messi fired Argentina’s World Cup glory in Qatar last December, and more or less, completing football.

Popularly known as El Pulga, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is one of the most well-rounded attackers of all time and has a skill set that’s nearly unmatched.

The 35-year-old has made a habit of winning trophies and individual accolades. He has notched seven Ballon d’Or awards, two of The Best FIFA Men’s Player Awards, one FIFA World Player of the Year and six European Golden Shoes.

He is the only player in football history to have won the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball on two occasions – 2014 and 2022.

Ballon d’Or (7): 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021

FIFA the Best: 2019, 2022

European Golden Boot (6): 2009-10, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018/19

Cristiano Ronaldo

The legendary Al-Nassr forward is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers in the history of the sport. The 38-year-old has enjoyed enormous success in his career spanning from 2003. He is well known as one of the most decorated players ever, winning five Ballon d’Or awards in his career.

Ronaldo has also notched two FIFA Best Men’s Player Awards and one FIFA World Player of the Year Award.

In 2021, the Portuguese hero won the Best FIFA Special Award for Outstanding Career Achievement.

It is well notifying that Ronaldo can boast of four European Golden Shoe honours and the FIFA Puskas Award he won in 2009, after scoring a 40-yard screamer for Manchester United against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League.

Ballon d’Or (5): 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

FIFA World Player of the Year: 2008

The Best FIFA Men’s Player (2): 2016, 2017

European Golden Boot (4): 2007-08, 2010-11, 2013-14, 2014-15

FIFA Puskas Award: 2009

Ronaldo Nazario

Luis Nazario de Lima Ronaldo somehow will go down as one of the greatest strikers ever in the history of football.

A three-time FIFA Player of the year and one of the most lethal forwards of the 90s and early 2000ss, Ronaldo absolutely lit it up for some of the best clubs in Europe throughout his career.

He played for PSV, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan in Europe and won two Ballons d’Or in 1997 and 2002.

The mercurial goal poacher made goalscoring look easy with his predatory instincts combined with his supersonic speed and amazing skillset which left defenders dazed with his immense quality.

Ronaldo also possessed some serious tricks up his sleeve and was well noted for his trademark stepovers to beat his marker, especially, goalkeepers on one-on-one situations.

Ronaldo’s career was, however, cruelly plagued by damaging knee injuries, and, as a result, he never truly fulfilled his potential despite winning so much in his career.

With his technique, dribbling, and clinical finishing, Ronaldo won 6 individual awards in his career.

Ballon d’Or (2): 1997, 2002

FIFA World Player of the Year (3): 1996, 1997, 2002

European Golden Boot: 1996-97

Marco van Basten

He Dutchman is highly regarded as one of the most prolific strikers to ever grace the game. The retired footballer is also well known for his exceptional skills, technical qualities and creativity on the field.

Marco Van Basten is one of the few footballers of his time to earn the world’s best football player FIFA title in 1992 and three Ballon d’Or awards in 1988, 1989, and 1992.

In 1986, van Basten was the European Golden Shoe winner. He was instrumental when Ajax won three Eredivisie titles and a European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1987. After joining Italian giants AC Milan, van Bastern notched the Seria A on three occasions and two European Cups.

At the time of his retirement due to an injury, his football career as a prolific striker was at its highest peak.

Ballon d’Or (3): 1988, 1989, 1992

FIFA World Player of the Year: 1992

European Golden Boot: 1985-86

Zinedine Zidane

The Algerian-born France legend is widely considered as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Zidane is famed for his relaxed elegance and simplistic style of play. His attractive attacking style, technique, vision with ball control and retention made him a force to be reckoned with throughout his career.

Popularly known as Zizou, the Real Madrid icon notched innumerable trophies during his playing days, winning the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid in 2002 and the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998.

The Frenchman also won individual awards, such as the Ballon d’Or in 1998 and the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003.

Zidane also picked up the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball in 2006.

Ballon d’Or: 1998

FIFA World Player of the Year (3): 1998, 2000, 2003

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