The Football Golden Ball award was introduced in1956 as a prize for the best player of the year among European football clubs. Initially, only Europeans could receive it, but then the rules changed a little. The award was given to players of any nationality, but who are necessarily playing for one of the European clubs. Below is a list of all those who received the Golden Ball:

  • 1956 - Stanley Matthews (England)
  • 1957 - Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
  • 1958 - Raymond Kopa (France)
  • 1959 - Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
  • 1960 - Lis Suarez (Spain)
  • 1961 - Omar Sivori (Italy)
  • 1962 - Josef Masopust (Czechoslovakia)
  • 1963 - Lev Yashin (USSR)
  • 1964 - Denis Lowe (Scotland)
  • 1965 - Eusebio (Portugal)
  • 1966 - Bobby Charlton (England)
  • 1967 - Florian Albert (Hungary)
  • 1968 - George Best (Northern Ireland)
  • 1969 - Gianni Rivera (Italy)
  • 1970 - Gerd Müller (FRG)
  • 1971 - Johan Cruyff (The Netherlands)
  • 1972 - Franz Beckenbauer (FRG)
  • 1973 - Johan Cruyff (The Netherlands)
  • 1974 - Johan Cruyff (The Netherlands)
  • 1975 - Oleg Blokhin (USSR)
  • 1976 - Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
  • 1977 - Allan Simonsen (Denmark)
  • 1978 - Kevin Keegan (England)
  • 1979 - Kevin Keegan (England)
  • 1980 - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany)
  • 1981 - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany)
  • 1982 - Paolo Rossi (Italy)
  • 1983 - Michel Platini (France)
  • 1984 - Michel Platini (France)
  • 1985 - Michel Platini (France)
  • 1986 - Igor Belanov (USSR)
  • 1987 - Ruud Gullit (The Netherlands)
  • 1988 - Marco van Basten (The Netherlands)
  • 1989 - Marco van Basten (The Netherlands)
  • 1990 - Lothar Matthaus (Germany)
  • 1991 - Jean-Pierre Papin (France)
  • 1992 - Marco van Basten (The Netherlands)
  • 1993 - Roberto Baggio (Italy)
  • 1994 - Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
  • 1995 - George Wea (Liberia)
  • 1996 - Matthias Sammer (Germany)
  • 1997 - Ronaldo (Brazil)
  • 1998 - Zinedine Zidane (France)
  • 1999 - Rivaldo (Brazil)
  • 2000 - Luís Figo (Portugal)
  • 2001 - Michael Owen (England)
  • 2002 - Ronaldo (Brazil)
  • 2003 - Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic)
  • 2004 - Andrey Shevchenko (Ukraine)
  • 2005 - Ronaldinho (Brazil)
  • 2006 - Fabio Cannavaro (Italy)
  • 2007 - Kaka (Brazil)
  • 2008 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
  • 2009 - Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Since 2010, the best player receives the FIFA Golden Ball.

  • 2010-2012 - Lionel Messi (Argentina)
  • 2013 - Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
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