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Top 10 Football Clubs with the most Ballon d’Or winners

Top 10 Football Clubs with the most Ballon d’Or winners

The Ballon d’Or stands as an iconic symbol of individual excellence. Established in 1956 by France Football, this prestigious accolade recognizes the best footballer of each calendar year. Throughout history, the Ballon d’Or has graced the most remarkable players, including the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Johan Cruyff, Ronaldo Nazario, and Zinedine Zidane. While Karim Benzema’s recent win for Real Madrid has made headlines, let’s embark on a journey to discover which clubs hold the most Ballon d’Or awards.

Karim Benzema Won the Ballon dOr in 2022 with Real Madrid in Spanish League, Image via Eurosport

Top 10 Football Clubs with the most Ballon d'Or winners
Karim Benzema Won the Ballon dOr in 2022 with Real Madrid in Spanish League, Image via Eurosport

Read More: Unlocking the Legacy: Top 5 Football Players with the Most Ballon d’Or Nominations

10. Ajax – 1 Win

AFC Ajax, commonly known as Ajax, is a prominent Dutch professional football club located in Amsterdam. They compete in the Eredivisie, which is the top tier of Dutch football. Historically, Ajax is the most successful club in the Netherlands, boasting an impressive record of 36 Eredivisie titles and 20 KNVB Cups. Since the inception of the Eredivisie in 1956, Ajax has consistently been a part of it and is one of the “big three” clubs in the Netherlands, alongside Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven, that have dominated the competition.

Ajax has enjoyed remarkable success on the global football stage, particularly in the 20th century. They were recognized as one of the most successful European clubs of that era, earning titles like The World’s Club Team of the Year in 1992. They are among the select few teams allowed to keep the European Cup and wear a multiple-winner badge. Notably, in 1972, Ajax achieved the continental treble by securing the Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, and the European Cup. They also won the inaugural European Super Cup against Rangers in January 1973.

  • Johan Cruyff (Netherlands – 1971)

Johan Cruyff’s Ballon d’Or win in 1971 left an indelible mark on Ajax’s history. Some record books even credit the club with two wins, considering Cruyff’s second Ballon d’Or victory in 1973, the year he left for Barcelona.

09. Hamburg – 2 Wins

Hamburger Sport-Verein, commonly known as Hamburger SV or simply Hamburg, is a prominent German sports club situated in Hamburg, with football being its largest and most well-known branch. Although the current HSV was officially founded in June 1919 through the merger of three earlier clubs, its origins can be traced back to September 29, 1887, when the first of its predecessor clubs, SC Germania, was established.

HSV has a rich football history, having won the German national championship six times, the DFB-Pokal three times, and the former League Cup twice. The team’s golden era stretched from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, during which they claimed numerous domestic honors and secured impressive European titles, including the 1976-77 European Cup Winners’ Cup and the 1982-83 European Cup. Notable players of this era included Horst Hrubesch, Manfred Kaltz, and Felix Magath, all of whom were regulars in the West German National Team. HSV’s last major trophy to date was the 1986-87 DFB-Pokal.

Until the 2017-18 Bundesliga season, HSV held the unique distinction of being the only team that had continuously played in the top tier of the German football league system since the club’s founding after World War I. Furthermore, it was the sole team to have participated in every season of the Bundesliga since its establishment in 1963.

HSV calls the Volksparkstadion in Bahrenfeld, a western district of Hamburg, its home ground. The official club colors are blue, white, and black, but the team’s home kit consists of white jerseys and red shorts. The most common nickname for the team is “die Rothosen” (the Red Shorts), and due to its status as one of Germany’s oldest clubs, it is also known as “der Dinosaurier” (the Dinosaur). HSV has fierce rivalries with Werder Bremen, with whom they contest the Nordderby, and FC St. Pauli, a Hamburg-based club with whom they have the Hamburg derby.

HSV is renowned for its commitment to grassroots development and places significant emphasis on youth development. In addition to football, the club has had sections in various other sports, including badminton, baseball, basketball, bowling, boxing, cricket, darts, ice hockey, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, handball, and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation exercises. These sections collectively represent about 10% of the club’s membership. With over 84,000 members across all sections, HSV is one of the largest sports clubs in Germany and ranks among the 20 largest football clubs in the world according to Forbes.

  • Kevin Keegan (England – 1978, 1979)

Kevin Keegan’s remarkable back-to-back Ballon d’Or victories in 1978 and 1979 elevate Hamburg’s status, highlighting the club’s prowess during his time.

08. Inter Milan – 2 Wins

Football Club Internazionale Milano, commonly known as Inter or Inter Milan, is an Italian professional football club based in Milan, Lombardy. Inter holds the distinction of being the only Italian club to have consistently competed in the top flight of Italian football since its inception in 1909.

Founded in 1908 as a result of a schism within the Milan Cricket and Football Club, Inter clinched its first championship in 1910. Since its establishment, the club has accumulated 35 domestic trophies, including 19 league titles, 9 Coppa Italia victories, and 7 Supercoppa Italiana wins. Between 2006 and 2010, Inter secured five consecutive league titles, matching the all-time record at that time.

They have also been triumphant in the European Cup/Champions League on three occasions, with two consecutive wins in 1964 and 1965, and another in 2010. Their most recent Champions League victory marked an unprecedented Italian seasonal treble, with Inter also winning the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto in the same year. Additionally, the club has claimed three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Inter plays its home matches at the San Siro stadium, which it shares with city rivals Milan. This stadium is the largest in Italian football, with a seating capacity of 75,817. The club maintains heated rivalries with Milan, against whom they compete in the Derby della Madonnina, and with Juventus, their opponents in the Derby d’Italia. The Derby della Madonnina is one of the most closely followed derbies in football. As of 2019, Inter boasts the highest home game attendance in Italy and the sixth-highest attendance in Europe.

Since 2016, the majority ownership of Inter has been held by the Chinese holding company Suning Holdings Group. Inter is recognized as one of the most valuable clubs in both Italian and global football.

  • Lothar Matthaus (Germany – 1990)
  • Ronaldo (Brazil – 1997)

Inter Milan’s journey to Ballon d’Or glory began with Lothar Matthaus’s win in 1990 after West Germany’s World Cup triumph. Seven years later, the magnificent Ronaldo added a second Ballon d’Or, enhancing Inter’s trophy collection.

Ronaldo Image via Britannica Top 10 Football Clubs with the most Ballon d'Or winners
Ronaldo, Image via Britannica

07. Dynamo Kiev – 2 Wins

Football Club Dynamo Kyiv, often simply referred to as Dynamo Kyiv, is a Ukrainian professional football club based in Kyiv. Founded in 1927 as a Kyivan football team of the republican branch of the larger Soviet Dynamo Sports Society, the club officially became a separate business entity in 1989. It currently competes in the Ukrainian Premier League and has never been relegated to a lower division. Their home stadium is the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex with a capacity of 70,050.

Dynamo Kyiv has a rich history of success, especially during the tenure of coach Valeriy Lobanovskyi, who led the team to numerous domestic and European titles. In 1961, Dynamo Kyiv became the first Soviet football club to break the Moscow-based clubs’ dominance in the Soviet Top League. The rivalry with Spartak Moscow that began in the mid-1970s is considered one of the most exciting football rivalries in the Soviet Union.

  1. Who is the Only Goalkeeper to Win the Ballon d’Or?

    Lev Yashin, Image via WallpapersLev Yashin, a Soviet professional footballer in 1963.

Since participating in UEFA competition for the first time in 1965, Dynamo Kyiv has been a regular fixture in European competitions. The club has won 16 Ukrainian top-flight league titles, 13 Soviet top-flight league titles, 11 Ukrainian national cup competitions, and 9 Soviet national cup competitions. They have also won three continental titles, including two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups. This makes them one of only two Soviet clubs to have won a UEFA trophy, the other being Dinamo Tbilisi.

Dynamo Kyiv’s first team served as a base team for the Soviet Union national football team in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as for the Ukraine national football team in the 1990s and 2000s. The two stars on the club’s crest represent 10 top-flight seasons that Dynamo Kyiv has won. The club was recognized as the Eastern European Club of the 20th Century by France-Presse, underlining its historical significance in the football world.

  • Oleg Blokhin (Soviet Union – 1975)
  • Igor Belanov (Soviet Union – 1986)

Dynamo Kiev’s prominence in the 1970s and 80s is exemplified by their UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup victories in 1975 and 1986, coinciding with Oleg Blokhin and Igor Belanov’s respective Ballon d’Or triumphs.

06. Manchester United – 4 Wins

Manchester United Football Club, commonly known as Man United or United, is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England. They compete in the Premier League, which is the top division in the English football league system. The team, nicknamed the Red Devils, has a rich history.

Founded in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club, the club adopted the name Manchester United in 1902. They played in various locations in Manchester before moving to their current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910.

Manchester United has an impressive domestic and international trophy history. Domestically, they’ve secured a record 20 top-flight league titles, 12 FA Cups, six League Cups, and a record 21 FA Community Shields. On the international stage, they’ve won the European Cup/UEFA Champions League three times, as well as the UEFA Europa League, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, the UEFA Super Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup once each. Notably, in 1968, they became the first English club to win the European Cup, a decade after the tragic Munich air disaster.

Sir Alex Ferguson, the club’s longest-serving and most successful manager, oversaw a golden era, winning 38 trophies, including 13 league titles, five FA Cups, and two Champions League titles between 1986 and 2013. In the 1998–99 season, the club achieved the continental treble of the Premier League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League under Ferguson’s management. They also became one of five clubs to have won the original three main UEFA club competitions (the Champions League, Europa League, and Cup Winners’ Cup) by winning the UEFA Europa League under José Mourinho in 2016–17.

Manchester United enjoys immense global support and has intense rivalries with clubs like Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Leeds United. They were the highest-earning football club in the world for the 2016–17 season, with an annual revenue of €676.3 million. In 2019, they were ranked as the world’s third-most valuable football club, with a value of £3.15 billion. The club has a complex ownership history, initially being floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1991 and later taken private in 2005 by American businessman Malcolm Glazer. Shares of the club were listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012, although the Glazer family retains overall ownership and control of the club.

  • Denis Law (Scotland – 1964)
  • Bobby Charlton (England – 1966)
  • George Best (Northern Ireland – 1968)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal – 2008)

The “Holy Trinity” of Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, and George Best brought glory to Manchester United in the 1960s, each claiming the Ballon d’Or. Cristiano Ronaldo later secured the fourth, asserting his status as one of the world’s best players.

05. Bayern Munich – 5 Wins

Fußball-Club Bayern München, commonly known as FC Bayern Munich or simply Bayern, is a German professional sports club based in Munich, Bavaria. The club is most renowned for its professional men’s association football team, which competes in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system. Bayern Munich holds the distinction of being the most successful club in German football history. They have won a record 33 national titles, including 11 consecutively since 2013, and 20 national cups, in addition to numerous European honors.

Founded in 1900, Bayern Munich achieved its first national championship in 1932. However, the club wasn’t selected to be part of the Bundesliga when the league was established in 1963. The club’s greatest period of success occurred in the mid-1970s, with Franz Beckenbauer as captain, winning the European Cup three consecutive times from 1974 to 1976. Overall, Bayern Munich has secured six European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles, the most by any German club. Their sixth title was won in the 2020 final, as part of a historic Treble.

  • Gerd Muller (Germany – 1970)
  • Franz Beckenbauer (Germany – 1972, 1976)
  • Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany – 1980, 1981)

Bayern Munich, one of Europe’s most decorated clubs, has seen three German legends win a combined total of five Ballon d’Or awards while representing the club. Robert Lewandowski was poised to add a sixth in 2020, but the pandemic led to the cancellation of that year’s Ballon d’Or.

Gerd Muller Image via The Guardian Top 10 Football Clubs with the most Ballon d'Or winners
Gerd Muller, Image via The Guardian

04. AC Milan – 8 Wins

Associazione Calcio Milan, commonly known as AC Milan, is a professional football club based in Milan, Italy. Founded in 1899, the club competes in the Serie A, the top tier of Italian football, and has maintained its presence in the top flight throughout its history, with only two exceptions in the 1980–81 and 1982–83 seasons.

AC Milan boasts an impressive domestic and international trophy history. In Serie A, they have secured 19 league titles, making them the second most successful club in the Serie A, alongside city rivals Inter Milan. The club has also won 5 Coppa Italia titles and 7 Supercoppa Italiana titles. In international competitions, AC Milan ranks fourth globally with 18 FIFA and UEFA trophies, tied with Boca Juniors, and they hold the record for the most international titles among Italian clubs.

One of their most notable achievements is winning seven European Cup/Champions League titles, a joint record. They have also clinched five UEFA Super Cups, two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, three Intercontinental Cups, and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Throughout its early history, Milan played its home matches at various grounds in the city before settling at the San Siro stadium in 1926. This iconic stadium, shared with city rivals Inter since 1947, is the largest in Italian football, with a total capacity of 75,817.

AC Milan has a historic rivalry with Inter, and their head-to-head matches in the Derby della Madonnina are among the most closely followed derbies in football.

The club is recognized as one of the wealthiest in both Italian and global football. AC Milan was a founding member of the now-defunct G-14 group of Europe’s leading football clubs and remains actively involved in the European Club Association, which succeeded the G-14.

  • Gianni Rivera (Italy – 1969)
  • Ruud Gullit (Netherlands – 1987)
  • Marco van Basten (Netherlands – 1988, 1989, 1992)
  • George Weah (Liberia – 1995)
  • Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine – 2004)
  • Kaka (Brazil – 2007)

With a staggering eight Ballon d’Or awards, AC Milan boasts six remarkable players who have left an indelible mark on the club’s history. Marco van Basten stands among the elite few who have secured the Ballon d’Or three times or more.

Kaka Image via AC MIlan Official Website Top 10 Football Clubs with the most Ballon d'Or winners
Kaka, Image via AC MIlan Official Website

03. Juventus – 8 Wins

Juventus Football Club, commonly known as Juventus or Juve, is a professional football club located in Turin, Piedmont, Italy. Established in 1897, the club competes in Serie A, the top tier of Italian football, and has consistently maintained its presence in the top flight, with the exception of the 2006–07 season.

Juventus is renowned for its rich history of domestic and international success. Domestically, the club has claimed an impressive 36 official league titles, making them the record holder for this competition, along with 14 Coppa Italia titles and nine Supercoppa Italiana titles. In international competitions, Juventus has earned 18 FIFA and UEFA trophies, tying with Boca Juniors for the fourth-highest in the world and achieving the highest count among Italian clubs.

One of Juventus’ most noteworthy achievements is winning seven European Cup/Champions League titles, a joint record. They have also secured five UEFA Super Cups, two UEFA Cup Winners’ Cups, three UEFA Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, and one UEFA Intertoto Cup, demonstrating their success on the European stage.

The club, initially founded as Sport-Club Juventus, is the second oldest athletics club in Italy, with continuous participation in the top league since 1900, except for the 2006–07 season. Juventus has been closely associated with the Agnelli family since 1923, marking one of the oldest and longest relationships between a club and a dynasty in Italian sports. The club has consistently been a major force in Italian football and a leading club in international competitions.

Under the guidance of manager Giovanni Trapattoni, Juventus won 13 trophies in the decade preceding 1986, including six league titles and five international titles. They became the first club to win all three seasonal competitions organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) during the 1976–77 UEFA Cup, the 1983–84 Cup Winners’ Cup, and the 1984–85 European Champions’ Cup. Juventus also secured the 1984 European Super Cup and the 1985 Intercontinental Cup, making them the only club worldwide to accomplish the feat of winning all five historical confederation trophies. This achievement was further validated with a victory in the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup.

In addition to their on-field success, Juventus boasts the largest fan base in Italy and one of the most extensive globally. The supporters’ group transcends regional boundaries, symbolizing “anticampanilismo” (anti-parochialism) and “italianità” (Italianness). Juventus has produced eight Ballon d’Or winners, four of whom secured this prestigious award in consecutive years from 1982 to 1985. The club has also supplied the most players to the Italy national team, contributing to their success in international competitions, most notably the FIFA World Cup in 1934, 1982, and 2006.

  • Omar Sívori (Italy – 1961)
  • Paolo Rossi (Italy – 1982)
  • Michel Platini (France – 1983, 1984, 1985)
  • Roberto Baggio (Italy – 1993)
  • Zinedine Zidane (France – 1998)
  • Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic – 2003)

Juventus joins the ranks of AC Milan with eight Ballon d’Or triumphs. Michel Platini’s impressive feat of three consecutive wins in the 1980s is a testament to the club’s storied history. Zinedine Zidane also claimed the award while playing for Juventus, primarily for his extraordinary performance during the 1998 World Cup.

02. Barcelona – 12 Wins

Futbol Club Barcelona, affectionately known as Barcelona or Barça. Established in 1899, it’s not just a football club; it’s a symbol of Catalan culture and identity, proudly declaring “Més que un club” or “More than a club.” What sets it apart? Unlike most clubs, Barça is owned and operated by its passionate supporters.

With a staggering value of $5.51 billion, it’s the third-most valuable sports team globally, a testament to its widespread appeal. Domestically, Barcelona has clinched a remarkable 77 trophies, including 27 La Liga titles. Internationally, they’ve conquered the football world with 22 European and global titles.

Barcelona’s intense rivalry with Real Madrid, known as El Clásico, is legendary. The club boasts a massive global fan base and an impressive social media presence. Their players have received numerous prestigious awards, including a record twelve Ballon d’Or trophies.

Barcelona’s rich history and commitment to excellence make it a force to be reckoned with in the football universe.

  • Luis Suárez (Spain – 1960)
  • Johan Cruyff (Netherlands – 1973, 1974)
  • Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria – 1994)
  • Rivaldo (Brazil – 1999)
  • Ronaldinho (Brazil – 2005)
  • Lionel Messi (Argentina – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019)

Barcelona‘s Ballon d’Or count skyrocketed from six to an astonishing twelve, all thanks to the legendary Lionel Messi. His remarkable performances etched his name into the annals of football history.

Lionel Messi, Image via Goal
Lionel Messi, Image via Goal

01. Real Madrid – 12 Wins

Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, or simply Real Madrid, is an iconic Spanish football club based in Madrid. Established in 1902 as Madrid Football Club, it’s known for its royal heritage, with King Alfonso XIII granting the title “real” (royal) in 1920. Unlike most sports clubs, Real Madrid is owned and run by its dedicated members. With a staggering worth of $5.1 billion in 2022, it’s the world’s most valuable football club.

Real Madrid boasts an impressive track record, having won 69 domestic trophies and 21 European and worldwide titles. The club has a rich history, including legendary players like Di Stéfano and Puskás. Known for its Galácticos policy, it has signed world-class stars, but recently shifted to nurturing young talent. Real Madrid’s remarkable success has earned it recognition as the greatest football club of the 20th century by FIFA.

As one of the founding members of La Liga, Real Madrid has never been relegated from the top division since its inception in 1929. The club holds intense rivalries, including the famous El Clásico with Barcelona. With a record-extending fourteenth Champions League title in 2022, Real Madrid continues to make history as one of the football world’s giants.

  • Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain – 1957, 1959)
  • Raymond Kopa (France – 1958)
  • Luis Figo (Portugal – 2000)
  • Ronaldo (Brazil – 2002)
  • Fabio Cannavaro (Italy – 2006)
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal – 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)
  • Luka Modric (Croatia – 2018)
  • Karim Benzema (France – 2022)
Cristaino Ronaldo has Won 5 Ballon dOrs Up Until Now, Image via Sky Sports

Top 10 Football Clubs with the most Ballon d'Or winners
Cristaino Ronaldo has Won 5 Ballon dOrs Up Until Now, Image via Sky Sports

Real Madrid, the eternal rivals of Barcelona, now stand neck and neck with an equal tally of twelve Ballon d’Or awards. Cristiano Ronaldo played a pivotal role in boosting Los Blancos’ count during his unforgettable nine-year spell with the club.

These remarkable clubs and their Ballon d’Or victories serve as a testament to the extraordinary talents that have graced the world of football throughout its illustrious history. Each club’s story, intertwined with these iconic players, enriches the tapestry of the beautiful game, leaving an indelible mark on the sport’s legacy.

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