Ballon d’Or: 8 great players who missed out on the award to the Messi-Ronaldo show

Published: 04th December 2018 02:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th December 2018 10:03 AM  

While we all love Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the talent they are, the Ballon d’Or declaration make us wonder every time - What, rather Who, if not the duo..? TNIE explores (Photos | AFP)
GIANLUIGI BUFFON: After 23 seasons as one of the unmovable pillars of Italian football, Buffon is experimenting with life abroad with PSG at age of 40. The veteran keeper has remained rooted in his native Italy through almost 900 club games for Parma and then Juventus and a European record 176 caps for Italy. On the way, Buffon has won a string of trophies. He is also the only goalkeeper to win the UEFA player of the year award.The goalkeeper made his debut with Parma at 17 in 1995. He won the Italian Cup, SuperCup and UEFA Cup at the club before moving to Juventus in 2001, winning nine Serie A titles, four Italian Cups and five SuperCups. Buffon made his Italy debut at 19 in 1997. In 2006, he conceded only two goals in seven matches - a record he shares with Spain's Iker Casillas and France's Fabien Barthez - as Italy won the World Cup. (Photo | AFP)
XAVI: Xavi collected 133 caps for Spain during a 14-year international career, winning the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012. The 38-year-old, who won eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues trophies at Barcelona, is currently captain of Qatari club Al-Sadd. Xavi, renowned for controlling play from a central position, made one of the best trio of club football at Barcelona along with Iniesta and Messi. (Photo | AFP)
ANDRES INIESTA: Only his long-time partner in the midfield Xavi Hernandez has more apperances for the club than Iniesta, who joined the club's youth squad when he was 12 in 1996, and along with Messi is the player with most titles won with the senior squad, with 30. Though he had signed a 'lifetime contract' with the club in October, 2018, the former skipper moved to the Chinese league. Iniesta has won the Champions League four times and La Liga eight times during a period of sustained success for Barcelona. He also scored the winning goal for Spain in the final match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa against the Dutch. (Photo | AP)
IKER CASILLAS: While Xavi received the farewell the he deserved at the rival-side, Real Madrid's most prolific captain in history was forced out of the club by the management. Spain's legendary skipper, who is affectionately called 'The Saint,' lead his country to their first World Cup title in 2010 as well as consecutive European Championships, in 2008 and 2012. The 36-year-old broke through into the Real first team as a teenager in 1999, winning the Champions League on three occasions before moving to Porto in 2015. (Photo | Twitter/FC Porto)
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PHILIPP LAHM: One of the best captains and complete defenders of his generation, former Bayern Munich captain Lahm announced his international retirement from the Die Mannschaft on July 18 2014, after lifting the World Cup in Brazil. He lifted the 2013 Champions League trophy and has also claimed eight Bundesliga titles, six German Cups and both the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2013. Not many would ever be as successful as Lahm was in being a top-class fullback without being sent off every now and then for dangerous fouls and tackles. Lahm played his way through Germany's youth teams before he made his first senior appearance under head coach Rudi Voeller against Croatia in February 2004. Lahm established himself as one of the cornerstones of the national team before he lifted the fourth World Cup trophy after beating Argentine 1-0 in the final of 2014 World Cup. (Photo | AFP)
ANDREA PIRLO: Capped 116 times for Italy, Pirlo called time on his illustrious career in November 2017 after winning the 2006 World Cup, two Champions League titles and six Serie A trophies. Pirlo began his career at Brescia and also played for Inter, AC Milan and Juventus before moving to play in New York City FC in the MLS. One of the most gifted midfielders of our times, Pirlo was most certain of being awarded the Ballon d'Or, if not for the Messi-Ronaldo jynx. (Photo | AP)
ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC: Serie A, Premier League, La Liga, MLS, Ligue 1 ... the iconic Swede has been there. Not many players has quite the ego that Inra has, but the former United striker has certainly been able to back that up on the field. His longest tenure on the pitch was for PSG in France, where he played 180 games and scored 156 times. His closest finish came in 2013, when he was the forth in the list. (Photo | AP)
WESLEY SNEIJDER: One of the great playmakers of his era, Sneijder, 34, remains a versatile and always energetic midfielder. He also finds himself in a small group of players who have been capped more than 100 times by the Netherlands, including Frank de Boer, Rafael van der Vaart, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie and Philip Cocu. Known as the 'Little Big Player', Sneijder made his debut for the national squad in 2003 against Portugal. There were many highlights in his career, but Sneijder will be especially remembered for his header during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Brazil which the Dutch won 2-1.Sneijder, who won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan, currently plays for Qatari club Al-Gharafa. (Photo | AP)
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