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Brazilian Football Players Who Won The Ballon d’Or



France Football’s Ballon d’Or (or Golden Ball) is the top individual recognition for a player and rewards the “perfect season”, crowning him the best player of the year. The votes of European coaches and players are collected to elect the winner, who can express their preference on a list of 10 players drawn up by the same French newspaper a few months before the final Gala evening.

The Golden Ball has been for years the exclusive competence of European players: since 1957, with the coveted trophy awarded to Stanley Matthews, English footballer of Blackpool, you have to scroll through for almost forty years of rankings to find the first champion born far away from the Old Continent.

Curious how the first extra-European footballer to win was George Weah, AC Milan’s top striker in 1995; curious because, speaking of champions, one cannot help but think of South American players, in particular the great champions who made Brazil legendary. Futebol Interior points a list of the Carioca players who won the Golden Ball.


Luiz Nazario da Lima, better known as Ronaldo, is considered by many football nostalgics, the greatest phenomenon ever seen on a football pitch, like sacred monsters such as Maradona (who was awarded with the Ballon d’Or to career in 1995) and Pele. His shots, the physical power combined with a touch of the pure class, but above all the famous double step in speed, were the Brazilian’s weapons to conquer the Ballon d’Or in 1997 and 2002, after the World Cup victory against Germany.


Perhaps the youngest football fans will not remember Rivaldo, but the generation of thirty-year-olds has clearly impressed the crystalline class of Barcelona number 10, who for a long time has been the best midfielder in the world.

Superfine vision of the game, long levers and high class moves made Rivaldo an impossible player to face, so much to deserve the Golden Ball in 1999. Despite being a great champion, many of his annoying attitudes on the field, pitchas accentuating the falls have slightly clouded Rivaldo: emblematic of the episode at the 2002 World Cup against China, so, after having pretended a violent ball shot to the face (which in reality was a simple ball at low speed) , trapped by the TV test, he suffered a long international disqualification. You can find more detailed info on


Ronaldinho is probably the Brazilian player par excellence, capable of playing unthinkable moves for any other human being, combining class with almost mocking fun typical of the Carioca champions. If Ronaldinho had the ball between his feet, stealing it was impossible: in a few seconds he dribbled his opponents with drunken footwork, concluding the action with perfect assists or spectacular goals. He won the Ballon d’Or in 2005 while wearing the Blaugrana shirt.


Just hearing the name, many Milan fans will have tears in their eyes, accompanied by sighs of loving nostalgia. One of the most elegant players ever seen on a football pitch, capable of being decisive during the 90s despite being an “ordinary man” outside the stadiums. Potentially able to enter the legend during his best years, he was curbed by several injuries that inevitably conditioned his career. Ricardo Kakà was awarded the Golden Ball in 2007.