The Ballon d’Or, which is awarded by the French publication France Football, is one of the most prestigious individual honours in the game. Karim Benzema of Real Madrid has been declared the winner of the award for the 2021-22 season. Benzema was the pillar behind Los Blancos winning the UEFA Champions League last season.
The 34-year-old striker is the fifth French player till date to have won the coveted award. Here is a list of all the other French players who took home the Ballon d’Or:
Raymond Kopa, 1958
This French legend won the Ballon d’Or in the year 1958. He was a part of the Real Madrid team which won the European Cup in 1956-57, 1957-58, and 1958-59.
Michel Platini, 1983, 1984, 1985
The first player to win the Ballon d’Or on three successive occasions, Michel Platini, who was nicknamed The King, featured in 72 matches for France where he scored a total of 45 goals. It was in 1977 when Platini found himself close to winning the Ballon d’Or for the first time, but lost out to eventual winner Allan Simonsen by four points.
Jean-Pierre Papin, 1991
In 1991, another French player found himself the winner of the Ballon d’Or. This time it was Jean-Pierre Papin, who was playing for Marseille when he was adjudged the winner of the award in 1991. He has played a total of 54 matches for his national side, scoring 30 goals. Till date he remains the only French footballer to win the Ballon d’Or while playing for a French club.
Zinedine Zidane, 1998
Just like 1986 belonged to Diego Maradona, it was Zinedine Zidane who ruled 1998. Widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, Zidane captained the French side to a World Cup triumph that year, netting in both goals for Les Bleus in the final.