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The Super Ballon d’Or

The Ballon d’Or is widely considered the pinnacle of individual achievement in football, with the award the football world’s Oscars.

To call yourself a Ballon d’Or winner is an incredible achievement, with some of football’s greatest ever-eligible players never winning one. The likes of Ferenc Puskas, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Xavi and Paulo Maldini all failed to win one, despite glittering, illustrious careers.

But, for all the exclusivity of the Ballon d’Or, there is still a prize even rarer. So rare that only one player has ever won the award.

In 1989, France football magazine hosted a special Ballon d’Or, in honour of their 30th anniversary.

It was a one-off trophy with a winner picked from the tiny pool of previous Ballon d’Or winners.

Dubbed the Super Ballon d’Or, it recognised the winner as the best of the best. A true footballing icon, trailblazer and all-round legend of the game.

The trophy itself is a bizarre-looking piece of silverware.

It’s not one for the mantlepiece on looks alone. The Huge Golden ball overseeing many tiny Ballon d’Ors below makes it look like a set piece from a Lord of the Rings film.

But its stature and importance cannot be understated.

It is still one-of-a-kind, and the meaning behind the award, the honour of being considered the greatest Ballon d’Or winner can’t be scoffed at.

Who Won It?

It was of course a highly contested voting process made up of huge names such as Platini, Cruyff Di Stefano and Beckenbauer, but only one could win it.

Only players from Europe were eligible for the award, and Di Stéfano was nominated due to his Spanish citizenship.

Whilst Platini and Cruyff might have been favourites, both fresher in the footballing world’s memory, Platini having won the trophy 3 years in a row between 1983 and 1985, the first ever 2 time Ballon d’Or winner proved to be the victor.

Alfredo Di Stéfano, often referred to as the “Blonde Arrow,” was the embodiment of football elegance and versatility. A pioneer of the attacking midfielder role, he was the driving force behind Real Madrid’s domination during the 1950s.

He was a footballing visionary. Intelligence way ahead of his time. Unrivalled finishing. Impeccable vision. The guy was the first attacker to truly have everything. 

Earning the Super Ballon d’Or, the man who played for 3 countries was immortalised as the greatest Ballon d’Or winner ever.

He still remains the only man to ever win the award.

The Voting Process

The winner of the award was voted by viewers and readers, a panel of France Football judges, and former Ballon d’Or winners. While Michel Platini actually won the public vote, the Panel of France Football journalists and former Ballon d’Or winners voted for Alfredo Di Stéfano.

The public vote was superseded, with the Journalist and Player’s votes counting for more than the readers.

Will the Super Ballon d’Or Ever Be Awarded Again?

There is speculation that a second Super Ballon d’Or could be held in 2029, though the question remains unanswered. 

Given his recent World Cup win and 7 Ballon d’Ors (likely soon to be 8), it seems set that were another to be held, Messi would be in pole position as the favourite for the trophy.

Where is the Trophy Now?

For many years, Stefano’s Super Ballon d’Or trophy remained on display at the Real Madrid museum at the Bernabeu but in 2021, 8 years after his death, Di Stéfano’s children auctioned off his memorabilia.

The trophy was among a collection of items sold to an anonymous buyer for £187,500.

Its current location is unknown…

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