Germany and the Netherlands (7)
The two rival nations have been the most dominant at the Ballon d’Or awards with their players collecting seven gongs each. For Germany the first win came from Gerd Muller, who claimed the award in 1970. Franz Beckenbauer won it twice in the 1970s before Karl-Heinz Rummenigge won it back-to-back in 1980 and 1981. Lothar Matthaus in 1990 and Matthias Sammer in 1996 wrap up the German winners of the Ballon d’Or.
The Netherlands had their first win through the legendary Johan Cruyff in 1971 and he won it two more times, in 1973 and 1974. Ruud Gullit won the gong in 1987 before his AC Milan teammate Marco van Basten won three of his own in the next five years.
Raymond Kopa was the first Frenchman to win the award in 1958, before Michel Platini became the first player in history to win the Ballon d’Or in three successive years with his wins from 1983 through to 1985. Jean-Pierre Papin won it in 1991 and Zinedine Zidane was the last Frenchman to take home the gong with his win in 1998.
Italy, Brazil, England, Portugal and Argentina (5)
In 1961, Omar Sivori became the first Italian to win the award. Gianni Rivera, Paolo Rossi, Roberto Baggio and Fabio Cannavaro are the other Italians to have won it since then.
Ronaldo became the first Brazilian to win the award with his triumph in 1997; he repeated his win in 2002 on the back of a triumphant 2002 World Cup campaign. In 1999, Rivaldo won the gong while playing for Barcelona; Ronaldinho , another Barcelona legend, won it in 2005, while AC Milan’s Kaka remains the last Brazilian to win it. He did it in 2007.
England became the first country to win the Ballon d’Or with Sir Stanley Matthews’ triumph at the inaugural edition of the awards in 1956. Sir Bobby Charlton was the next English winner in 1966 before Kevin Keegan took the gong in successive years in 1978 and 1979. Michael Owen was the last Englishman to win it with his triumph in 2001.
Portugal had its first winner in Eusebio in 1965. Luis Figo was the next Portuguese player to win it in 2000. Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has won it three times since.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won it a record five times and remains the only player from his native Argentina to have won the individual honour.
Soviet Union and Spain (3)
The Soviet Union had its first winner in Lev Yashin in 1963, and the legendary goalkeeper remains the only custodian to have won the award. Oleg Blokhin in 1975 and Igor Belanov in 1987 are the other two Soviet players to have won it.
Spain had its first winner in Luis Suarez in 1960 before Alfredo Di Stefano, who was born in Argentina but later represented the Spain national team, won it in 1957 and 1959.
Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic (2)
Josef Masopust was the first and only player from the erstwhile Czechoslovakia to win the gong in 1962. Pavel Nedved was the second player from the country to win the award in 2003. The country by then had been renamed to the Czech Republic.
Wasi is a keen fan with loads of knowledge about the game. He has written for some of the world’s leading soccer websites and is a major Barcelona and Pune City FC fan. He loves the Champions League and watches 200+ EPL games & La Liga games per season.