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The Greatest XI of players who never won the Ballon d’Or


Gianluigi Buffon

The Juventus legend has won numerous trophies during the course of his long stint in goal for the Old Lady. He was also the number 1 for the Italy national team as they went on to win the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Buffon remains a rock in goal despite nearing 40.

Dani Alves

One of the greatest right-backs of his generation, Alves was one of the most influential players in what is regarded as one of the greatest club teams of all time: Barcelona from 2008-2012. The Brazilian went on to collect 23 trophies during his uber-successful eight-year stint at the Camp Nou.

Franco Baresi

The Milan legend became the template for an ideal defender during the course of his over two-decade long career at the San Siro. One of the greatest defenders to grace the game, Milan honoured his legacy by retiring his shirt number.

Ruud Krol

The graceful Dutchman, who was renowned for initiating play from the back in the vaunted Ajax Amsterdam and the Netherlands national team of the 1970s, is widely regarded as the greatest Dutch defender of all time.

Paolo Maldini

The former AC Milan captain had a glittering 25-year career with the club during which he went on to win all there was to win. Although Maldini later successfully switched to centre-back, he remains one of the greatest left-backs the game has seen.

Frank Rijkaard

The Dutchman was an incredibly skillful defensive midfielder. His assured play in front of the Milan defence allowed their flair players to foray forward with impunity during Milan’s dominant years in the 1980s and early 90s.

Xavi Hernandez

The Barcelona stalwart was the lynchpin of one of the greatest club sides – (Barcelona 2008-12) as well as national teams – Spain (2008-12) of all time. Dictating play from midfield, he went on to win a bagful of trophies for the Camp Nou outfit as well as two European Championships and a World Cup for Spain.

Michael Laudrup

The Dane played on both sides of the Clasico divide and won league titles at both the clubs. An elegant and graceful footballer, Laudrup was renowned for his ability to find spaces where seemingly none existed. There have hardly been better playmakers than him.

Diego Maradona

The Argentine legend led his national team to World Cup glory at the 1986 edition in Mexico and was the star of the show at Napoli during their most successful years. He is regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time.

Ferenc Puskas

The Hungarian legend was one of the greatest strikers the game has ever seen. Known for his prolific goalscoring, Puskas was the face of the dominant Mighty Magyars of the 1950s. He later went on to have a successful spell at Real Madrid, winning three European Cups.


The Brazilian was a striker of unparalleled quality. His knack of finding the back of the net saw him score goals by the bagful no matter where he played.

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