The Super Ballon d’Or is widely considered the most prestigious individual award in the sport of football. However, unlike the regular Ballon d’Or trophy presented annually, the Super Ballon d’Or has only been awarded a single time due to its immense rarity and exclusivity. Recognizing a player deemed to have achieved the highest level of excellence that transcends all eras, winning the Super Ballon d’Or places a player among the greatest to ever grace the pitch.
What is the Super Ballon d’Or?
The Super Ballon d’Or was created in 1989 by French magazine France Football, the same publication responsible for the regular Ballon d’Or award. It was established to honor one player who stood above all others in the history of the sport up to that point. Unlike the annual Ballon d’Or, the Super Ballon d’Or was never intended to be a regular occurrence. Instead, it pays homage to a truly exceptional player that changed the game forever and whose influence continues to be felt decades later.
Who has won the Super Ballon d’Or
The only player to have been bestowed the immense honor of winning the Super Ballon d’Or is Argentine footballer Alfredo Di Stéfano. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Di Stéfano enjoyed a storied career spanning two decades between the 1940s and 1960s.
He beat other great players like Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, and Franz Beckenbauer in the voting process.
You might ask, Why Di Stefano Won Super Ballon d’Or?
Alfredo Di Stéfano won the Super Ballon d’Or for several reasons:
- Remarkable career: Di Stéfano was a legendary player who led Real Madrid to win the first five European Cups in consecutive fashion. He was a key player in Real Madrid’s success during that era.
- Ballon d’Or winner: Di Stéfano won the Ballon d’Or twice in 1957 and 1959. This further highlighted his exceptional performance and impact on the game.
- Voting process: The Super Ballon d’Or was awarded based on votes from viewers and readers of French magazine France Football, a panel of judges set up by the magazine, and former Ballon d’Or winners. Although viewers and readers voted Michel Platini as the best, the France Football jury and former Ballon d’Or winners chose Di Stéfano.
- Eligibility: The Super Ballon d’Or was awarded to the best European footballer. Di Stéfano, born in Argentina, held a Spanish passport, making him eligible for the award.
For his unparalleled achievements and lasting impact on the sport, Di Stéfano was a unanimous selection as the sole Super Ballon d’Or recipient in 1989. While no other players have yet matched Di Stéfano’s standard, current greats like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have the talent to one day be considered.
How is the Super Ballon d’Or awarded?
The process for selecting the Super Ballon d’Or winner mirrors that of the regular Ballon d’Or. A panel of international football journalists vote for the player they deem most deserving. However, the criteria for the Super Ballon d’Or are much more stringent given its loftier significance. Voters are instructed to disregard career statistics and trophies in favor of selecting the one player in history deemed to have played at the highest level of excellence, showcased leadership, and left an indelible mark on the sport. This helps explain why, unlike the annual Ballon d’Or, the Super Ballon d’Or has only been awarded once since its inception, to the peerless Di Stéfano.
The award was voted by former Ballon d’Or winners, France Football’s jury, and viewers and readers. Di Stéfano beat Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini, Franz Beckenbauer, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and Kevin Keegan in the final rankings.
The rarity of the award is what makes it so prestigious and ensures it is reserved only for the games true immortals. The award is not given out on any consistent timeline, but rather is only bestowed upon a player unanimously viewed as having achieved greaterness than any other in the long and illustrious history of the sport. This means that the player being honored for the Super Ballon d’Or is effectively being named the greatest of all time. As such, the voting process involves football historians, former players and coaches, and leading journalists conducting an exhaustive review of a candidate’s entire career before deciding if they merit such extraordinary and exclusive recognition.
The Super Ballon d’Or trophy
The physical Super Ballon d’Or trophy takes the form of a large golden ball mounted on a golden base. Standing at over two feet tall, it cuts an imposing figure. While inspired by the design of the regular Ballon d’Or trophy, the Super Ballon d’Or features several enhancements befitting of its loftier status. Most prominently, it is made of solid gold and studded with hundreds of precious gems rather than the gold-plated materials used for the annual trophy. An inscription engraved on the base recognizes the winner as “Le Meilleur Joueur de Tous les Temps” which translates to “The Best Player of All Time.”
Overall, the intricate design of the Super Ballon d’Or trophy leaves no doubt that this is an honor of much higher prestige and rarity than even the standard Ballon d’Or awarded to the world’s best player each year.
When is the next Super Ballon d’Or?
The next Super Ballon d’Or is a hypothetical award that could be given in 2029 by France Football magazine to honor the best football player of the previous three decades.
The Super Ballon d’Or has only been awarded once in 1989 to Alfredo Di Stefano, who beat other great players like Johan Cruyff and Michel Platini in the voting process.
There is no official confirmation that the Super Ballon d’Or will be given again in 2029, but some speculate that Lionel Messi could be a strong contender for it, as he has won seven Ballon d’Or awards and the World Cup with Argentina.
Messi is widely regarded as the best football player of all time, and has scored over 800 goals and won over 40 trophies in his career. He has also won the FIFA World Player of the Year six times, the European Golden Shoe six times, and the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year three times.
Other potential contenders include Erling Haaland, who had a superb debut season with Manchester City, and Aitana Bonmati, who led Spain to World Cup glory in the women’s game. The exact date for the 2029 Super Ballon d’Or has not been confirmed yet.
Super ballon d’Or winners list
|Alfredo Di Stéfano