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FOOTBALLING LEGENDS WHO MISSED OUT ON THE BALLON D'OR

 

The Ballon d'Or, football's most prestigious individual accolade, has adorned the careers of some of the game's greatest players. However, amidst the illustrious list of winners, there exists a group of exceptional footballers who, despite their undeniable talent and contributions to the sport, never managed to claim this coveted award.

Here's a look at some of the footballing greats who never won the Ballon d'Or:

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Frank Rijkaard

Frank Rijkaard, a Dutch midfield maestro, orchestrated triumphs at Ajax and AC Milan. Despite a glittering career, the Ballon d'Or slipped through his fingers, with his closest attempt in 1988, playing second fiddle to compatriot Marco van Basten.

 

Dennis Bergkamp

Dennis Bergkamp's technical wizardry at Arsenal remains unparalleled. Despite pivotal roles in conquering titles, the Ballon d'Or eluded him. In 1998, he stood third in the race, behind Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

 

Gianluigi Buffon

Gianluigi Buffon, a goalkeeping stalwart, amassed trophies but never the Ballon d'Or. His 2006 runner-up finish, trailing behind Fabio Cannavaro, reflected the defensive brilliance that often goes unnoticed in individual awards.

 

Paolo Maldini

Paolo Maldini's defensive elegance, a cornerstone of AC Milan's success, never translated into Ballon d'Or triumph. Despite a glittering career, the elusive award remained beyond his grasp.

 

Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta

Xavi and Iniesta, architects of Barcelona's tiki-taka era, mesmerized but never conquered the Ballon d'Or. In 2010, Iniesta finished second, and Xavi third, both falling short of Lionel Messi.

 

Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry's electrifying performances for Arsenal in 2003 weren't enough for the Ballon d'Or, as he lost to Pavel Nedvěd. His significant impact in Arsenal's unbeaten league campaign was arguably overshadowed.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimović

Zlatan Ibrahimović, the charismatic striker, left an indelible mark but never clinched the Ballon d'Or. Despite conquering four countries, individual glory remained elusive.

 

Luis Suárez

Luis Suárez's clinical finishing and work ethic led to numerous titles, yet the Ballon d'Or remained out of reach. His impressive trophy collection stands testament to his excellence.

 

Neymar Jr

Neymar's dazzling skills captivated fans, but Ballon d'Or glory seems distant. His move to Saudi Arabia adds a layer of uncertainty to his chances of ever claiming the title.

 

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski's goal-scoring prowess at Bayern Munich earned him accolades, but the Ballon d'Or remained elusive. It's a shame he didn't receive the accolade in 2020, when he was considered a clear favorite, but the award's cancellation due to COVID-19 denied him the recognition he deserved.

 

Raúl González

Despite being Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer before being toppled by Cristiano Ronaldo, Raúl fell short of the Ballon d'Or. His closest chance in 2001 saw him finish third behind Luís Figo and Andriy Shevchenko.

 

Cafu

Cafu, a wing-back extraordinaire, celebrated numerous titles but never the Ballon d'Or. The defensive nature of his position might have played a role in his omission from the award's winners' list.

 

The Ballon d'Or, while a prestigious accolade, has not always been an accurate reflection of the contributions and talent of some of football's greatest players. These exceptional individuals, despite not winning the Golden Ball, will be remembered for their contributions to the beautiful game for years to come.

 

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