Ballon d’or-Since 1956, the French news magazine France Football has presented the Ballon d’Or (French pronunciation: bal d; lit. “Golden Ball”).
In an agreement with FIFA, the award was temporarily amalgamated with the FIFA World Player of the Year (established in 1991) and called as the FIFA Ballon d’Or between 2010 and 2015.
That collaboration ended in 2016, and the prize was renamed the Ballon d’Or, while FIFA established its own yearly award, The Best FIFA Men’s Player. Both award organizations regard the joint FIFA Ballon d’Or winners to be winners.
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From 1956 through 2006, the Ballon d’Or award was created by sports writers Gabriel Hanot and Jacques Ferran to honor the male player deemed to have played the best over the preceding year, based on vote by football journalists.
Beginning in 2007, national team coaches and captains were also granted the ability to vote.
Originally, it was solely given to European players and was known as the European Footballer of the Year award. The Ballon d’Or was expanded in 1995 to include all players of any nationality who have played for European clubs. In 2007, the award became a global honor, with all professional players from across the world eligible.
The first winner of the Ballon d’Or was Stanley Matthews of England.
Prior to 2007, the award was recognized in English and much foreign media as the Continental European Footballer of the Year award. Even after 2007, it was commonly identified with and referred to as the European award due to its origins as a European prize, until it was amalgamated with FIFA’s World Player award, establishing its new global claim.
Liberia’s George Weah, the lone African recipient, won the award’s first non-European winner in 1995, the year eligibility requirements were amended for the first time. Two years later, Ronaldo of Brazil became the first South American winner.  The second rule modification in 2007 to accommodate players from all continents resulted in no new champions, as all winners since then had been exclusively active in Europe during their triumph.
Lionel Messi has won the award a record seven times, with Cristiano Ronaldo coming in second with five. Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Marco van Basten have all received the award three times. The Dutch, German, Argentine, and Portuguese players have won the most Ballons d’Or, each with seven.
German (1972, 1981) and Dutch (1988) players were the only ones to take all three top spots in the same year, with German (1972) and especially Italian clubs (1988-1990) achieving the same feat, including two years solely made up of AC Milan players (1988, 1989), a unique record until Spanish clubs experienced an unexpected dominance (2009-2012, 2015, 2016), and Barcelona (2010) became the second club with three top players. With twelve and eleven wins, respectively, two Spanish teams, Barcelona and Real Madrid, lead the table for hiring the most winners.