2000: Zidane, upside down
On October 24, 2000, less than two months before the Ballon d’Or was awarded, Zidane lost the chance to lift the trophy for a second time, after 1998, in a gesture of bad temper. Winner of the Euro with France against Italy (2-1 ap), the number 21 of Juventus got carried away and struck, within the framework of the group stage of the Champions League, a blow of Head to Hamburg defender Jochen Kientz, synonymous with expulsion and five suspension matches.
One mistake too many for the French world champion – already expelled in the Champions League against La Coruna two days earlier – which made the difference for the jury, made up of specialized journalists from 51 European countries. If the place on the throne went to Luis Figo (16 points ahead of Zidane), « Zizou » was named player of the year by FIFA.
Zinédine Zidane, here in the Euro 2000 final against Italy. (A. de Martignac/The Team)
2003: Henry, the second place in luxury
Although the altruistic Thierry Henry has been in sight on an individual level (second top scorer in the Premier League with 24 goals, one less than Ruud van Nistelrooy), it is the versatile Pavel Nedved (Juventus) who becomes the winner . The Frenchman was a victim of Arsenal’s mixed record, released during the second phase of C1 and capped at the post by Manchester United for the title in England.
The Czech won Serie A, the Championship then known as the highest in Europe, and reached the final of the Champions League (defeat against AC Milan). He is also undefeated for 19 matches with his selection.
Thierry Henry will have played, and lost, two finals in 2006: those of the Champions League and the World Cup. (S. Mantey/The Team)
2006: Henry misses his turn again
The failure in the Champions League final against Barcelona (1-2) at the Stade de France, combined with the World Cup final lost against Italy (1-1, 3 pens to 5) relegated the French striker in third place. His season had been rich in goals (27) with Arsenal, making him the top scorer in the Championship.
But the Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro, by his title at the World Cup, his leadership skills, his charisma but above all by the extent of his talents as a defender, became the third in his position to receive the Ballon d’Or (after Franz Beckenbauer in 1972 and 1976 then Matthias Sammer in 1996). He was ahead of his compatriot, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon that year.
2013: Ribéry victim of his time
Franck Ribéry had an exceptional year, winning five major titles with Bayern Munich (German Cup, Championship, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup) and the title of best UEFA player. Insufficient, however, to win the Ballon d’Or, returned for the second time, after 2008, to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Author of 69 goals but without having won a title in 2013, the Portuguese is ahead of Lionel Messi, who remained on four coronations in a row. Despite his XXL record that year, Ribéry was content with 3rd place.
Franck Ribéry believed for a long time that he would be the winner of the Ballon d’Or in 2013. (B. Papon / L’Équipe)
2016: Griezmann in the big leagues
The Atlético de Madrid player is placed in third place, very far behind Messi and Ronaldo, but the striker has acquired a new status with the club and with the Blues. Aged 25, he scored forty goals in all competitions and placed himself as a new taulier with Diego Simeone and Didier Deschamps.
Despite the defeat in the final of the Euro against Portugal (0-1 ap), he was voted best player in the competition with his six goals scored. He had previously missed a penalty at the start of the second half of the Champions League final lost against Real Madrid (1-1, 5 tab to 3).
2018: Griezmann, so close so far
After a year rich in trophies with the Colchoneros (Europa League and European Supercup) and France (World Cup), Griezmann was a very serious candidate to be the fifth French Ballon d’Or. But the results relegated him to third place (14.37%) behind Cristiano Ronaldo (16.52%) and Modric (26.14%). The latter, crowned for the first time, won his fourth Champions League and brought Croatia to the World Cup final, finishing as the best player in the competition.
Antoine Griezmann witnessed the coronation of Luka Modric in the front row in 2018. (A. Réau / L’Équipe)