The Ballon D’Or is the pinnacle of success in the soccer world, a dream of every player who steps onto the field. It’s a badge of honour reserved for the legends, a testimony to their skill and command on the pitch. However, there’s a roster of remarkable players who, despite their on-field brilliance, never got to hoist this coveted trophy. Their remarkable feats reverberate across stadiums, yet the shimmer of Ballon D’Or gold evaded them.

As we unravel the stories of these ten soccer icons, we’ll also dip our toes into the enticing realm of soccer betting, where every game holds the promise of the unexpected. This narrative extends into the burgeoning field of sports betting in South Africa, an arena where the unpredictability of the game meets the calculated risks of the betting world, further enriching the soccer narrative in this region.

Legends Without The Gold:

Andrés Iniesta

Iniesta, with his magical touch, was the heartbeat of Barcelona’s tiki-taka era. His legendary goal in the 2010 World Cup sealed Spain’s first-ever victory in the tournament. His ability to alter the game’s outcome made him a favourite subject in soccer betting circles. However, despite his critical role and game-changing passes, Iniesta never got to hold the Ballon D’Or, sparking debates on the award’s criteria.

Thierry Henry

Henry’s time at Arsenal showcased how a striker could redefine a game with pace, precision, and goal-scoring prowess. His pivotal role in Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ season and France’s 1998 World Cup triumph were remarkable, but the Ballon D’Or accolade remained beyond his reach.

Raúl González

Embodied as Real Madrid’s spirit, Raúl González’s illustrious career saw him shattering records. His composure in front of goal and ability to show up in crucial moments made him a legend in Santiago Bernabeu. However, the Ballon D’Or never adorned his trophy cabinet.

Xavi Hernandez

The mastermind of Barcelona’s midfield, Xavi Hernandez’s name is synonymous with the art of passing. His ability to dictate the pace of a game made him a cornerstone of both Barcelona and Spain’s golden era. In the realm of soccer betting, his consistent performances often made for predictable outcomes, providing a sense of assurance to those betting on Barcelona’s success. Despite the monumental contributions, the golden touch of the Ballon D’Or never graced his career.

Frank Lampard

The epitome of a goal-scoring midfielder, Lampard’s exceptional ability to find the back of the net distinguished him in the soccer arena. His illustrious career saw him becoming Chelsea’s all-time leading goal scorer, a remarkable feat for a midfielder. Despite the club success and individual records, the Ballon D’Or accolade never found its way to Lampard.

Gianluigi Buffon

Buffon’s name resonates with goalkeeping excellence. His remarkable shot-stopping skills and leadership at the back were instrumental for both Juventus and Italy. Yet, his career, laden with trophies, didn’t include the coveted Ballon D’Or.

Ferenc Puskás

A Hungarian legend, Puskás’s goal-scoring prowess made him a sensation in the soccer world. Despite his legendary goal scoring record and being a crucial part of Real Madrid’s domination in the 1950s, Puskás didn’t clinch the Ballon D’Or.

Paolo Maldini

A stalwart in defence, Maldini’s name is often the first that comes to mind when talking about legendary defenders. The defensive solidity he brought to the field often led to lower-scoring games, impacting soccer betting strategies. His exemplary career at AC Milan saw him lifting numerous trophies, but the Ballon D’Or remained elusive. 

Roberto Carlos

Known for his thunderous free-kicks and marauding runs down the flank, Carlos redefined the role of a left-back. His blend of defensive solidity and attacking threat was a nightmare for opponents. However, the Ballon D’Or never featured in his list of accolades.

Alessandro Del Piero

The embodiment of Juventus’s spirit, Del Piero’s loyalty and goal-scoring ability made him a living legend in Turin. His flair and decisive goals in crucial moments showcased his calibre on the big stage. However, the Ballon D’Or remained out of reach, leaving many to ponder on the comprehensive recognition of soccer talent beyond the forward line.

Why No Gold?

Positional Bias:

The Ballon D’Or has a history of favouring forwards and goal scorers over midfield maestros or defensive stalwarts. The overshadowing of orchestrators like Iniesta and Xavi sparks debates on revamping the Ballon D’Or voting process for a fair talent evaluation across all positions.

Team’s Performance:

Individual brilliance can be dimmed by a team’s lacklustre performance. A player’s stellar season may go unnoticed if his team falls short of clinching titles, prompting discussions among soccer enthusiasts on the fairness of the Ballon D’Or criteria.

Era Dominance:

Soccer narratives often highlight era-dominating individuals. Sometimes, a player’s peak coincides with the peak of other standout athletes, like in the Messi-Ronaldo era, overshadowing other deserving talents who could have won in another timeline. This aspect often makes the Ballon D’Or less about individual excellence and more about the tale of the times.

Media Popularity:

A player’s media popularity can sometimes warm the hearts of the Ballon D’Or electorate, giving them a better shot at the award. This media-made halo can tilt perceptions, raising questions on the authenticity of the award’s adjudication.

Injury Setbacks:

The quest for Ballon D’Or glory is a marathon with potential pitfalls like injuries. A single injury can cleave a player’s dreams, with the long road to recovery often seeing the world move on to newer stars, leaving a sombre narrative of what could have been in the Ballon D’Or annals.

Betting on The Undercelebrated

The journey of these remarkable yet undercelebrated soccer stars mirrors the heart-throbbing unpredictability that comes with soccer betting. It’s this element of the unexpected that draws many to try their luck in the online sports betting arena. 

Online betting platforms like Easybet, offering some of the best soccer odds in South Africa, serve as a launchpad for those willing to back the underdogs, those players who, despite their stellar performances, remain in the shadows when the limelight shines on the usual suspects. To sweeten the deal for newcomers, Easybet rolls out a generous R50 Sign Up Bonus, offering a risk-free foray into their betting site with the potential promise of a win.

Soccer betting apps in the new era of betting not only provide a conducive environment for placing soccer bets but also offer resources to enhance punters’ betting acumen. With popular features like live betting and promotions like Early Cash Out, sports betting fans can immerse themselves in the ongoing action, making on-the-spot decisions as the field drama plays out. The advantage of having a dedicated betting app is that it allows punters the flexibility to play live or engage with the game in real-time, ensuring they never miss a beat even when on the move.It’s about seizing the moment, much like those players who defy odds yet remain unsung.


The tales of these ten soccer icons who missed the Ballon D’Or spotlight unveil the multi-faceted and unpredictable nature of soccer. Each match unfolds a new narrative, with potential heroes ready to defy the odds. It’s about celebrating the unseen, the unheard, and the uncelebrated in both the sports and the soccer betting arenas.