Is this the best team of players who have never won the Ballon d'Or?

Is this the best team of players who have never won the Ballon d'Or?

By Steve Neville

As many expected, Lionel Messi won his fifth Ballon d'Or last night becoming the first player to win the accolade five times.

The trophy has been dominated by both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years meaning many great players have never won it.

It may surprise you the number of quality players who have missed out being named the world's best footballer. Here we look at a starting team of players who have never claimed the award.

Gianluigi Buffon

Buffon become a Juventus legend, the Italian has won six Serie A titles and lifted the World Cup with Italy in 2006. In the same year he finished second in the race for the Ballon d'Or, behind countryman Fabio Cannavaro.

Cafu

Often considered one of the games best fullbacks, Cafu will be remember mostly for being part of a dominant 00s AC Milan team winning the Serie A in 2004 and Champions League in 2007. With Brazil he won an impressive two World Cups, in 1994 and 2002, when he captained the side.

Carles Puyol

A true Barcelona legend and a colossus of a centre half, Puyol captained Barcelona for 10 years with his side frequently thought of one of the best to play the game. Six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, a European Championship and World Cup with Spain in 2008 and 2010, but no Ballon d'Or.

Lilian Thuram

A French legend and another man fondly remembered from his time playing in Italy, Thuram is another on this list with a World Cup medal. He only scored two international goals, both in the 1998 World Cup semi-final when France beat Croatia on their way to lift the trophy.

Paolo Maldini

One of the greatest defenders ever to play and a true one club man, Maldini never held football's biggest individual title. That said, we have a feeling he wouldn't trade in his 902 AC Milan caps, his seven Serie A titles or his five Champions League medals for the world.

Frank Rijkaard

A real talent as a holding midfielders, Rijkaard had massive success with Ajax and Milan teams in the 80s and 90s winning three Champions League medals. He was also a stand out player for the Netherlands, on the winning side at Euro 88, in a team that included greats such as Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Ronald Koeman.

Andrea Pirlo

The Architect was one of the great passing midfielders. Known as a set piece specialist and for his ability to play key through balls, Pirlo was instrumental in the recent glory Juventus has tasted, winning four league titles on the trot.

Xavi

Another from the famed Barcelona team, Xavi is often hailed as one of football's best midfielders. His ability to exploit space on the pitch was unrivalled and it was a skill that helped Bacelona and Spain win countless titles. Xavi did come close to winning the Ballon d'Or in 2009, but finished third behind Ronaldo and the winner, Messi.

Andrés Iniesta

Alongside Xavi, Iniesta was part of a world class central midfield duo for both club and country. Iniesta was classic playmaker with an envious passing ability. Twice he was nominated for the Ballon d'Or, coming second in 2010 and third in 2012, where Messi won both years.

Thierry Henry

Henry came to fame at Arsenal becoming a club legend for his goals and flair. He won two league titles at the club and became their record goalscorer, an accolade he also holds with his country, France. He won two more league titles in Spain with Barcelona as well as the Champions League. Henry finished runner up for the Ballon d'Or in 2003 and third in 2006.

Raúl

Possibly the most consistent striker to play, Raúl has became a legend at Real Madrid where he was captain for eight years. He holds record for most appearances with club (741 games) and is second on the goalscorers list, beaten only by Cristiano Ronaldo. Three titles to his name, Raúl was a runner up in 2001.

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