Lionel Messi was in the top 3 more times than any other player (11 times).
First ever winner was from England – Stanley Matthews. Barcelona and Real Madrid are the most successful clubs with 11 Ballon d’Or winners. Goalkeeper won it once, it was Lev Yashin in 1963 from SSSR (Russia). One player from Africa won Ballon d’Or, it was George Weah from Liberia while playing for AC Milan, he was also first non-European to win it.
Only two youth academies produced more than one Ballon d’Or winner, they are River Plate and Sporting CP. Only 3 defenders have won it, they are Fabion Cannavaro (2006), Franz Beckenbauer (1972) and Matthias Sammer (1976) .
Liverpool has the most nominated players for this year – 7. First time since 1993 no Spanish player is nominated. Premier League has the most nominees (15) with the rest playing in La Liga (7), Serie A (3), Ligue 1 (2), Eredivisie (2) and Bundesliga (1).
Luis Suarez has won Ballon d’Or once, but it’s not Luis Suarez you all know. It was in 1960 and he is Spanish.
Additional fact: Stanley Matthews was 41 years old when he won the award making him the oldest person to win it. He was 6 years older than the next oldest person to win it which was Lev Yashin (34 years old)