With some months left to announce the winner for this year’s Ballon d’Or, we have highlighted the three English Premier League, EPL, and players who were robbed of the award in the past.
Since the English domestic league was rebranded and remodelled as the EPL in 1992, only two players from the English top-flight league have won the Ballon d’ Or – Liverpool’s Michael Owen (2001) and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (2008).
Today, we are going to highlight three EPL players who had incredible seasons for their clubs in the past but were overlooked for the Ballon d’Or award:
Thierry Daniel Henry is a French professional football coach and former player who is an assistant coach for the Belgium national team.
He is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time and one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League. In 2003 and 2004, Henry was the runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year, and was runner-up for the Ballon D’Or in the former year.
He was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice, the FWA Footballer of the Year three times, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year six consecutive times.
He was also included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI once and the UEFA Team of the Year five times. He was one of the most commercially marketed footballers during the 2000s. Henry, along with Alan Shearer, was one of the inaugural inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.
In the 2002/2003 season, football fans witnessed something strange when Juventus’s star (Pavel Nedved) was given the Ballon D’Or award instead of Henry. Henry played so well that season, scoring 32 goals and 28 assists for the Arsenal.
The Ex-France international star also had 29 goals contributions at international level than his compatriot Czech counterpart, Nedved. In football history it was considered as the biggest robbery history would.
- Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Virgil van Dijk is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Premier League club Liverpool and the Netherlands national team.
Considered one of the best defenders in the world, Van Dijk is known for his strength, leadership and aerial ability. He is the only defender to win UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, and has finished runner-up for the Ballon D’Or and Best FIFA Men’s Player.
In the 2018-2019 season, he was nominated for the FIFA Ballon D’Or because of his performances for Liverpool which earned him a lot of praise from football fans across the world, with many naming him favourite to win the Ballon D’Or award that year.
But unfortunately for Van Dijk he finished second in the final voting round, losing out on the award to former Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, by just seven votes.
- Eric Cantona (Manchester United)
Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona is a French actor, director, producer, and former professional footballer.
He played for Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nîmes, and Leeds United before ending his career at Manchester United, where he won four Premier League titles in five years and two League and FA Cup Doubles.
He won the league championship in seven of his last eight full seasons as a professional. At international level, he played for the French national team.
In the 1992/1993 season with Leeds, he was nominated for the Ballon D’Or award but he finished in the third position. He was also nominated at Manchester United and was expected to win award because he scored 24 goals and registered 13 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions.
But however, he did not even finish in the top three of the Ballon d’Or race as Barcelona’s Hristo Stoichkov won the award that season.