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This list of highest scoring Ballon d’Or winners has no shortage of legends, two of whom are still alive today. Surprisingly, Pele, Romario and Ferenc Puskas are nowhere to be seen, but a few familiar names are in this litany of greats.
The Ballon d’Or award is arguably the highest accolade for any footballer. The next one takes place on October 30, with Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland battling it out for the top honour this time around. Messi has won the accolade a staggering seven times in his career, while Haaland is looking to add this title for the first time ever.
Messi is a big favourite to win the title following his World Cup exploits with Argentina, while Haaland picked up 50+ goals to help Manchester City to a famous treble last season. As the awards ceremony edges closer, let’s dive into this list of natural born hitmen.
Top 5 Highest scoring Ballon d’Or winners
All of these players have been able to win the Ballon d’Or at least once, and are unified as a single entity in this list after having scored 500+ career goals.
#5 – Alfredo Di Stefano (530 goals)
Alfredo Di Stefano is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have represented Real Madrid. In fact, Di Stefano is often credited with making Real Madrid an eternal household name, and the immensely successful club that they have been in post-war Europe.
Di Stefano made an immense contribution in helping the Spanish club win the European Cup (the Champions League’s predecessor) on a staggering five consecutive occasions. The Argentine-born player was also successful in lifting numerous La Liga honours. Apart from representing Real Madrid, Di Stefano also played for Espanyol and River Plate.
#4 – Eusebio (619)
A recipient of the Ballon d’Or title in 1965, Eusebio features on this list having been able to achieve immense success with his club Benfica. Even though he never picked up the European Championship or the World Cup, the Benfica star came close in the 1966 World Cup when Portugal finished third.
During his remarkable career that saw him play more than 300 league matches for Benfica, Eusebio returned with 619 goals. His achievements stand tall considering that he is one of the very few players to have scored 500+ goals in his career.
#3 – Gerd Muller (634)
Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller has been a recipient of the Ballon d’Or title only once in his career, but he features in this list after having hit an astonishing 634 goals over his stellar career.
Muller oversaw a golden period for German football, with Bayern Munich winning multiple league and European titles with him in the lineup. He was also immensely successful at national team level, picking up the World Cup and European Championship honours in the space of just two years.
#2 – Lionel Messi (821)
Messi has already created history by lifting the title seven times, and is universally odds-on to make it eight next Monday. His successes in 2019 and 2021 came even after supposedly passing his ‘prime’ days.
Messi has been an unstoppable force throughout his career with a major chunk of his 800+ goals coming for Barcelona. Albeit in an inferior league to La Liga or Ligue 1, he is likely to play for a few more years before finally hanging up his boots.
#1 – Cristiano Ronaldo (860)
Cristiano Ronaldo is top of the charts after having picked up 860 career goals during his time at Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Al Nassr. The number of Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d’Or titles stands at an impressive five. but it is still two short of Messi’s seven.
Although Ronaldo has been going toe-to-toe with Messi for Ballon d’Or trophies since his first title in 2008, the Portuguese superstar has not been crowned as the world’s best player since 2017. Yet, even after his move to the Saudi Arabian top division at the start of this year, Ronaldo has been scoring for fun.
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