A Super Ballon d’Or award in football is the rarest individual piece of silverware awarded to the best player of the past 30 years, only if there’s a worthy contender for it.
So far, only one such award has been handed out when former Real Madrid forward Alfredo di Stefano won the Super Ballon d’Or in December 1989 when he fended off tough competition from French legend Michel Platini and Dutch star Johan Cruyff as France Football magazine marked its 30th anniversary.
Alfredo di Stefano, revered as one of the most prolific strikers of his generation, scored 308 goals in 396 appearances for Real Madrid.
During his decade-long stay in the Spanish capital, Di Stefano won two Ballon d’Ors, one Intercontinental Cup, two Copa Latinas, eight La Liga titles, one Copa de Espana, five consecutive European Cups between 1956 and 1960 and a Small Club World Cup.
Given his remarkable collection of trophies, he was handed the elusive Super Ballon d’Or award
At that time, the Super Ballon d’Or award was planned to be given to the best European footballer. However, Alfredo di Stefano won it despite being born in Argentina as he held a Spanish passport.
Meanwhile, the Ballon d’Or award was first handed out in 1956, when Blackpool’s Stanley Matthews won it. Since then, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have received the individual award seven and five times, respectively, the most among all players.
Who is expected to win the second-ever Super Ballon d'Or award?
In contemporary times, if a footballer can be deemed notable enough to bag the Super Ballon d’Or award, it has to be either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, the two modern-day greats who have graced the sport with some mesmerising performances over the years, winning innumerable honours in the process.
Before the FIFA World Cup 2022, the only trophy missing from both players’ cabinets was the all-important World Cup. While Lionel Messi’s Argentina went all the way through, Ronaldo’s Portugal were eliminated in the quarter-final against Morocco.
Argentina, after the heartbreak in the 2014 final against Germany, managed to get one better this time out to win La Albiceleste’s third and Lionel Messi’s first-ever crown at the marquee event.
Messi also won the Golden Ball award courtesy of his eye-catching displays at Qatar 2022, where he netted seven goals in addition to three assists as he once again came to the forefront when his team needed him the most.
Nonetheless, Lionel Messi could now bag the Super Ballon d'Or award after clinching possibly every individual and team accolade that he could have won in his illustrious career.
Photo credit: Alamy