Unluckiest Players to Miss Out on the Ballon d'Or Because of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

As we are just one day away from revealing this year's Ballon d'Or winner, we take a look at some of the most unluckiest top players who could have won this coveted award without a shadow of a doubt if not for the unreal performances by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.


Here we go.....

7. Wesley Sneijder - 2010 (Winner - Lionel Messi)

The then Inter Milan talisman Wesley Sneijder was in the absolute prime of his career in 2010 when he was nominated for the Ballon d'Or award.


Sneijder was instrumental in helping Inter win the famous treble and also rallied Netherlands to the World Cup final that year. The Dutchman scored eight goals and assisted another 15 goals as Inter dominated Europe in 2010.

 

However he missed out on the accolade due to Barcelona's golden generation trio of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi came into the top 3 in contention for the award.


Lionel Messi eventually won the Ballon d'Or that year!

6. Manuel Neuer - 2014 (Winner - Cristiano Ronaldo)

This was the year in which Cristiano Ronaldo rose up to the occasion and performed brilliantly in order to claim the Ballon d'Or in which Manuel Neuer was one of the top three nominees including Lionel Messi, ofcourse.


The German international and Bayern Munich man was at his absolute peak in 2014 as he lead Germany to win the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Neuer also won the Golden Glove to show off alongside his FIFA World Cup winning medal in 2014.


The year before that, Neuer won the UEFA Champions League, the Bundesliga and the German Supercup treble with Bayern in 2013.

5. Xavi - 2009, 2010, 2011 (Winner - Lionel Messi)

Its not often that a player stays at the top for such a long time only to not win it because of a divine intervention and for Xavi, Lionel Messi was a divine intervention.


The Barcelona legend was nominated in the top 3 players of the world for three continuous years and Messi won the Ballon d'Or in all of those three years!


Although Xavi might not have won the Ballon d'Or in all those three years, the former Spanish national team captain lifted the FIFA World Cup trophy in 2010. He was also part of the Spain national team who won the Euro Championships in 2008 and 2012.


Additionally, he won the UEFA Champions League four times with Barcelona in the years 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015.

4. Franck Ribery - 2013 (Winner - Cristiano Ronaldo)

Cristiano Ronaldo hit his absolute peak in 2013 as he raced to the Ballon d'Or ahead of Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich hitman Franck Ribery.


Ribery was in his prime in 2013 and received 23.36% of the votes compared to second placed Messi's 24.72% and winner Ronaldo's 27.99%.


The Bayern great lead France to the FIFA World Cup quarter final in 2014 where they were beaten 1-0 by Germany. The Frenchman was also instrumental in helping his club win the UEFA Champions League in 2013.


Ribery played a brilliant pass to set up the opener in the Champions League final against Dortmund that year, then directly assisted Arjen Robben's winner. With Bastian Schweinsteiger silent, Bayern needed someone to step up and provide the leadership they missed in the 2010 and 2012 Champions League finals. Ribery did just that. 

3. Samuel Eto'o - 2009 (Winner - Lionel Messi)

While Samuel Eto'o came ninth in the 2009 rankings and Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or, we believe that the Senegalese striker did more for Barcelona and was extremely unlucky to miss out on winning the coveted award especially in 2009 when he was at his peak.


Eto'o scored the famous equaliser against Arsenal in 2006 in the Champions League final which Barcelona eventually won 2-1.


He also went on to win the UEFA Champions League while playing for Jose Mourinho's Inter in the final against Bayern Munich in 2010 which was played at the Santiago Bernabeu.

2. Andres Iniesta - 2009, 2010, 2012 (Winner - Lionel Messi)

As was the case with Iniesta's then midfield partner Xavi, this World Cup winner too has had to deal with losing out to someone extraordinarily great when it came to winning the Ballon d'Or.


Iniesta was nominated in the top three players in the world for two years in 2010 and 2012 whereas he came 4th in 2009. Messi won the award in all three years. 


The creative Spaniard was instrumental in winning the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona in the 2010-11 season in which he was at the peak of his form.


Eventual winner Messi received 41.60% of the votes in 2012.

1. Neymar - 2015, 2016 (Winners - 2015 - Lionel Messi and 2016 - Cristiano Ronaldo)

This probably explains Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain to some extent. The extraordinary Brazilian missed out on winning the Ballon d'Or on two consecutive occasions due to his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.


The pacy Brazilian won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona in the 2014-15 season in which he made 12 appearances for the Blaugrana. Neymar had a hand in 11 goals scored by Barcelona on their road to win Europe's most coveted club trophy that year, but missed out to teammate Lionel Messi who was at another level altogether.


Neymar came third in the 2015 Ballon d'Or whereas he was fifth in the rankings last year.