Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo: A look at last five Ballon d'Or winners
Lionel Messi pipped Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo to claim a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or trophy this year. Here is a look at the last five winners of the prestigious award.
2016 - Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo won his 4th Ballon d'Or in 2016 after beating Lionel Messi and Antonie Griezmann. Ronaldo enjoyed one of the most successful years of his footballing career in 2016 as he fired Real Madrid to Champions League glory before winning the Euros with Portugal. Ronaldo had notched up 51 goals and 17 assists in just 61 appereances for club and country in the 2016 season.
2017 - Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo won his second straight Ballon d'Or in 2017 and matched Lionel Messi's tally of five titles at the time after yet another stellar season with Real Madrid. Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win the Champions League and the La Liga title for the first time since 2012. He scored 42 goals for Real Madrid across all competitions in the 2016-17 seasn and also scored a brace in the Champions League final against Juevntus to help Real win 4-1.
2018 - Luka Modric
The midfield maestro brought an end to Messi and Ronaldo's dominance in Ballon d'Or awards as he ended the duo's winning streak of ten years to clinch the prestigious honour in 2018. Messi and Ronaldo had won five Ballon d'Or awards each since Kaka won the trophy last in 2007. Modric helped Real Madrid win the Champions League and led Croatia to the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup to win his maiden Ballon d'Or.
2019 - Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi returned to the top of the podium at the Ballon d'Or awards in 2019 as he beat Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to claim his sixth title. It was his first since 2016 after a brilliant season with Barcelona. Messi had scored 46 goals in 54 matches for Barcelona across all competitions and was also the top-scorer in the La Liga.
2021 - Lionel Messi
The awards were scrapped in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic with many believing Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski was robbed of a chance to win his maiden Ballon d'Or. Lewandowski finished second in 2021 as Lionel Messi clinched a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or. Messi almost led Barcelona to La Liga triumph in his final season at the club while also helping them win the Copa del Rey before leading Argentina to a memorable triumph at the Copa America 2021 where he was the top-scorer and bagged the Player of the Tournament award.