Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or 2023Getty Images

Who has won the most Ballons d'Or?

The Ballon d'Or is widely accepted as one of the most prestigious individual awards in football, with the best players in the world vying for recognition.

Some of the biggest names in the game have gotten their hands on the trophy, including Zinedine Zidane, George Best and Ronaldinho, but only a small number have won it multiple times.

Here, GOAL takes a look at who has won the most Ballons d'Or.

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Which player has won the most Ballons d’Or?

Lionel Messi is the most decorated player in the history of the Ballon d’Or award, with eight titles.

Cristiano Ronaldo is behind him in second, having won it five times, while Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten each won it three times.

You can see the list of multiple Ballons d'Or winners below.

RankPlayerNo. of Ballons d'OrYears won
1Lionel Messi82009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021, 2023
2Cristiano Ronaldo52008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
=3Michel Platini31983, 1984, 1985
=3Johan Cruyff31971, 1973, 1974
=3Marco van Basten31988, 1989, 1992
=5Franz Beckenbauer21972, 1976
=5Ronaldo21997, 2002
=5Alfredo di Stefano2 1957, 1959
=5Kevin Keegan21978, 1979
=5Karl-Heinz Rummenigge21980, 1981

How many Ballons d’Or has Lionel Messi won?

Lionel Messi Ballon d'OrGetty

After finishing second behind Ronaldo in the rankings in 2008, Messi picked up his first Ballon d’Or one year later.

It was the first of four in a row the then-Barcelona star would claim as his rivalry with the Portuguese attacker dominated elite football.

He lost out to Ronaldo in 2013 and 2014 before being named No.1 again the following year. He had to wait until 2015 for his fifth award, then the sixth came along in 2019. The Argentina star further padded his tally in 2021 and 2023, moving up to eight in his career.

2023Lionel MessiErling HaalandKylian Mbappe
2021Lionel MessiRobert LewandowskiJorginho
2019Lionel MessiVirgil van DijkCristiano Ronaldo
2015Lionel MessiCristiano RonaldoNeymar
2012Lionel MessiCristiano RonaldoAndres Iniesta
2011Lionel MessiCristiano RonaldoXavi
2010Lionel MessiAndres IniestaXavi
2009Lionel MessiCristiano RonaldoXavi

How many Ballons d’Or has Cristiano Ronaldo won?

Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'OrGetty

Ronaldo made the top three for the first time in 2007, but came in second behind AC Milan icon Kaka that year.

Twelve months later, Ronaldo’s dream became a reality as he was crowned for the first time, but it would be several years of near misses before he would claim his second award.

He then went on to win the 2014, 2016 and 2017 awards as his battle with Messi continued.

2017Cristiano RonaldoLionel Messi Neymar
2016Cristiano RonaldoLionel MessiAntoine Griezmann
2014Cristiano RonaldoLionel MessiManuel Neuer
2013Cristiano RonaldoLionel MessiFranck Ribery
2008Cristiano RonaldoLionel MessiFernando Torres

How many Ballons d’Or has Pele won?

Brazil phenomenon Pele was never given the Ballon d’Or because of a rule preventing non-European players from winning it until that policy was overturned in 1995.

But France Football revealed that the three-time World Cup winner would have seven titles to his name had he been eligible, which would have made him the record holder until Messi scooped his seventh in 2021.

The years the Ballon d'Or publication says Pele would have won are: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1970.

Useful Ballon d'Or links