Take a stroll though Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or wins through the years, beginning with his first in 2009.
As he’s won the award a record seven times, there’s not even room here for his most recent win in 2021!
What of the youngsters?
That list of aging winners of the Ballon d’Or doesn’t do much for its reputation that, on occasion, it’s been more of a popularity contest than judged on sporting merit. Although none of that is unlikely to pose an issue for the 2023 award.
Still, that list of oldies did get me wondering who the youngest winners of the men’s Ballon d’Or have been. Here’s what I found:
Ronaldo was just 21 years and 96 days old when he first won the Ballon d’Or in 1997. A record that remains today.
Michael Owen was not far behind when he won it in 2001, aged 22 years and four days. He remains the last Englishman to win it.
Yes, you’ve guessed it. Lionel Messi was also one of the youngest winners. He did that in 2009, aged 22 years and 160 days when he won the first of his seven Ballons d’Or.