After getting sidetracked by the wonderful school portrait style photo shoots that many of 90’s football's biggest names had to endure upon receiving football's most prestigious individual honour, we got to thinking.

What would happen if you tried to put together an ultimate team of the 90’s based solely on Ballon D’or votes. Well, you're probably not gonna like what we’ve come up with. The criteria were simple, we would tally up every vote received from 1990 to 1999 and then split the players into goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and attacking players.

As with any individual awards in football the voting tends to heavily favour attacking talents over defensive players. Hence the use of the ludicrously attacking 3-1-2-1-3 formation. 

Now for the controversial bit, to ensure that a degree of longevity over the decade was factored in we have opted to set a benchmark of entry to the team of a minimum of five votes in at least three years.

It’s clear who the biggest victim of this (slightly arbitrary) figure is. Despite receiving the third most votes overall of any player in the 90’s Zinedine Zidane does not make the side.




Despite finishing third in 97 and decimating his competitors to win by a landslide in 98 he only managed to collect four votes in the 1999 edition. A season in which, to be fair, he scored two goals and registered six assists in 40 games of an injury hit season.

Now to another glaring issue in the process. 1995 would be the first year in which non European players would be considered for the honour, it would also be the first and only time a player from the African continent has thus far lifted the award with future world leader George Weah picking up the prize.



This has meant that Ronaldo is the only player from South America to feature, despite the continent producing a glut of outrageously talented players throughout the decade. 

So with all of those caveats out the way let's take a look at the side we’ve ended up with.


Votes based on total votes + 3 years minimum of getting at least 5 votes


The surprise name may well be that of Jurgen Klinsmann, the German never won the award but his 223 votes place him as the fourth best attacker, behind only Ronaldo, Stoichkov and Rivaldo, the latter not receiving the prerequisite five votes across three years.

We’ll put in a link to our workings if you’d like to take a look at how we ended up here in a little more detail?...

... Some hard data for you, OK – maybe not.


Words by Andy Gallagher





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