The Dream XI of past Ballon d'Or winners
Lev Yashin (1963)
Only one goalkeeper has managed to win this award, and this player was Lev Yashin, 'The black spider'. His performances between the posts for Dynamo Moscow and the Soviet Union helped him grab the glory in 1963.
Franz Beckenbauer (1972 and 1976)
To speak about order and hierarchy in the defence is to speak about the great German centre back of the 1970's. Leader of 'Die Mannschaft' and Bayern Munich, Beckenbauer won the Ballon d'Or on two occasions and was a finalist the three other years that he was nominated.
Fabio Cannavaro (2006)
The Italian centre half won the Ballon d'Or in controversial circumstances. Many thought that the award should have gone to his compatriot Gianluigi Buffon, who also became a World Champion that summer. Yet the 'Calciopoli' scandal that surrounded the goalkeeper, coupled with the defender's signing for Real Madrid, ensured that he would take the prize instead.
Matthias Sammer (1996)
There are only a few defenders to have won the award, but it is neccessary to sacrifice some of the firepower in attack in order for this dream team to have three at the back. Matthias Sammer beat Brazilian Ronaldo to the award in 1996 by just three votes, and that is why we had to include him in the eleven.
Johann Cruyff ( 1971, 1973 and 1974)
What can be said about Cruyff that has not already been uttered? The Dutchman who reinvented football, as both a player and then as a coach, undoubtedly deserves a place in this Dream XI.
Michel Platini (1983, 1984, and 1985)
No less important than others in this team is Platini, who won three consecutive editions of the top individual prize in football, when propaganda campaigns were not as wild as they are today.
Kevin Keegan (1978 and 1979)
England has not won as many Ballon d'or's as some other countries, but among the few, one must highlight this dual winner of the award, who also placed second in a third edition.
Alfredo di Stefano (1957 and 1959)
'The blond arrow' won two Ballon d'Or awards, and the only Super Ballon d'Or to date, which recognised him as the best of the best up to 1989.
Lionel Messi (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015)
The Argentine star had to be in this dream team. He won four consecutive titles, and then in 2015, halted the run of Cristiano Ronaldo, by becoming the first player in history to have won the award on five occasions. Of course, four of them (except the one he won in 2009) were awarded to Messi during the time when FIFA and 'France Football' were joint patrons of the prize.
Cristiano Ronaldo ( 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017)
Messi's long term rival also forced himself into this Dream XI. In 2017, he won his fifth Ballon d'Or, equalling the tally of the Argentine. Two of the Portuguese' five awards were in conjunction with FIFA's joint patronage of the prize.
Marco van Basten (1988, 1989, and 1992)
By decree, the final place in this side must go to Marco van Basten. A three time winner of the award, at club level he won almost everything. With Holland, he clinched a European Championship.