The illustrious Ballon d’Or ceremony took place in Paris in late November, as Lionel Messi won a stunning seventh award. However, many fans believed that Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was robbed of the award for the second year running. Lewandowski should have won the award in 2020 after a treble-winning season for the Bavarian giants, but the ceremony was canceled due to COVID.
Once again, many fans that bet on soccer lines believed that the striker should have received the honor this year after breaking Gerd Muller’s 40-year goalscoring record in the Bundesliga. However, which other players have been robbed of the success in years gone by?
Wesley Sneijder was one of the world’s best players throughout the prime years of his career during spells with Real Madrid and Inter Milan. However, the Dutchman never got his hands on the Ballon d’Or.
Many believed that the Dutch maestro should have won the award in 2010 after leading Inter Milan to a prestigious treble. Their finest hour as a team came in Jose Mourinho’s final game in charge, as Inter won the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
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Sneijder was an integral part of the side throughout the season and continued to highlight his quality as the Dutch reached the 2010 World Cup final before being beaten in extra time by Spain.
However, at the Ballon d’Or ceremony, three Barcelona stars made the top three, with Lionel Messi winning the award, much to everybody’s amazement considering that Sneijder played a key role as Inter knocked the Catalonian giants out of the competition at the semi-final stage.
The 2004 Ballon d’Or remains one of the strangest, as the prestigious honor was won by Andriy Shevchenko, with Deco and Ronaldinho finishing in second and third.
Amazingly, the player that many believed to be the best in the world at the time finished in fourth place. Thierry Henry was at the peak of his powers in the 2003-04 season, as he scored a remarkable 30 goals in 37 Premier League outings. He also scored 39 goals in all competitions that season.
The fact that he didn’t even make the top three was a bizarre outcome, especially considering that the season prior to the Ballon d’Or being award was the one when Arsenal went the whole Premier League campaign without suffering a defeat, a feat that has never been matched in the Premier League-era.
All of the players in the top three also failed to win the Champions League, while Henry also outscored Shevchenko in terms of goals.
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool fans were understandably hurt in 2019 when Virgil van Dijk didn’t pick up the Ballon d’Or. The Dutchman had been revered by most as the best player on the planet throughout that 12-month period, as Liverpool lifted the Champions League trophy and were sailing towards their first Premier League title in 30 years.
Van Dijk’s arrival was the catalyst behind both major successes for the club, but he was overlooked in the vote, as voters instead opted to put their confidence in attacking players.
The Dutch defender finished above Cristiano Ronaldo, but Lionel Messi still won the award, as he picked up seven more votes than the central defender.
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However, many believed that the political voting system that is in play at the Ballon d’Or ultimately meant that Messi got the votes that he needed to win the award. Regardless, van Dijk still won the UEFA Player of the Year award and was named in the UEFA Team of the Year for 2019.