Why Diego Maradona never won the Ballon d’Or

The average football fan can be forgiven for thinking the late Diego Maradona had won the football world’s most prestigious individual prize during his career.

You’d think someone of Maradona’s calibre would have at least picked up the Ballon o’Dor once in his career.


Despite being regarded as the best player in the world throughout his career, he never got his hand on the famous accolade.

This was something I didn’t realise until a few months ago until looking into the British winners of the crown.

The award was launched by France Football, and for many years it did not include players who played outside of Europe.

It wasn’t due to discrimination, but due to technology and the fact that at the time it was launched it was difficult to regularly monitor football outside the continent.

Footballers from South America, Africa and elsewhere would be visible across the world when the World Cup was on, but their weekly club appearances were much more difficult to keep on top of.

This was until 1995, when the criteria was stretched to allow European based players such as Kaka and Messi to pick up the crown.

And then in 2007 it was broadened to the whole world.

It is safe to say that if the new rules were brought in many years before, Maradona would have certainly scooped many individual titles.

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