Players who have won the World Cup, Champions League, and Ballon d'Or
There are a handful of trophies that truly define a player’s career. For all the fantastic Copa Libertadores, Gold Cup or FA Cup winners there have been over the years, there are only two trophies across the world that are held above all the others- The World Cup and the Champions League.
On top of it is the Ballon d’Or, which is given to the best player on the planet every year who has been active at European clubs.
Here is the list of seven players, who have succeeded in getting their hands on all the three prestigious trophies:
1. Sir Bobby Charlton
Champions League: 1968 World Cup: 1966 Ballon d’Or: 1966
The Manchester United legend was a crucial member of the team and was also the reason for England’s success in 1966.
He scored in the group stages against Mexico, but his most important contribution came against Portugal, where he scored a vital brace in the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Sir Charlton even set up Sir Geoff Hurst’s equalizer in the final, as England went on to beat Germany 4-2 at the Wembley Stadium.
2. Gerd Muller
Champions League: 1974, 1975, 1976 World Cup: 1974 Ballon d’Or: 1970
Der Bomber might have been helped by the fact that he was a part of Germany and the Bayern Munich team, who were one of the greatest of all time but still Muller was one of the best strikers the sport has ever witnessed.
He’s one of just two out and out strikers to ever win the World Cup, Champions League and Ballon d’Or.
The German ended his career with 515 goals and till today, remains Bayern Munich’s best ever goal scorer and also Bundesliga’s top marksman.
3. Franz Beckenbauer
Champions League: 1974, 1975, 1976 World Cup: 1974 Ballon d’Or: 1972, 1976
It may have been Muller who kept firing in the goals for Bayern Munich and Germany, Franz Beckenbauer was the real star of those teams.
Der Kaiser is one of just ten players throughout history who have ever won more than one Ballon d’Or, he’s the only defender to ever pick at least two awards and he was also the part of the Bayern Munich squad, which won the Champion league thrice in a row.
4. Zinedine Zidane
Champions League: 2002 World Cup: 1998 Ballon d’Or: 1998
Before leading Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions Leagues, Zidane was a Champions League-winning midfielder in the Spanish capital.
His famous volley in the final against Bayern Leverkusen helped him become the fifth player to ever win the Champions League, World Cup and Ballon d’Or.
It was when the current Los Blancos boss was at Juventus where Zidane helped to inspire his national team to the World Cup trophy in 1998, eventually earning himself a groundbreaking £46.6 million move to Real Madrid just after the turn of the millennium.
Champions League: 2003 World Cup: 2002 Ballon d’Or: 1999
Despite Brazil’s consistent run throughout the 20th century, it wasn’t until AC Milan lifted the Champions League in 2003 that a star player from the Selecao had claimed all the three major trophies in his career.
Rivaldo had moved to Europe, three years before winning the Ballon d’Or and despite losing the final to Zidane’s France in 1998, the Brazilian legend eventually got his hands on the trophy four years later, netting in five consecutive games during their route to the final.
Rivaldo had to leave Barcelona to get his hands on the UCL but even then Rivaldo was only an unused substitute as Milan secured the trophy thanks to a penalty shootout against Juventus.
Champions League: 2006 World Cup: 2002 Ballon d’Or: 2005
Ronaldinho hadn’t been long at Paris Saint-Germain when he won the World Cup in 2002 but the Brazilian had to wait for a move to Barcelona before he started getting the recognition he deserved.
He pipped Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard to the Ballon d’Or in 2005, while the following year Ronaldinho was part of the Barcelona team, which beat Arsenal back at his old stomping ground, the Parc des princes, in the Champions League final.
Champions League: 2007 World Cup: 2002 Ballon d’Or: 2007
Neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi has joined this list yet and that means the Brazil legend Kaka remains the most recent inductee into the most elite group of players to win football’s three most coveted prizes.
Kaka was only 20 when he won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, although he only appeared in one match as a second-half substitute.
It was another year before AC Milan snapped him up from Sao Paulo but it was with the Rossoneri where Kaka won the Champions League and Ballon d’Or in 2007 and then he joined Real Madrid in a move which made him Brazil’s most expensive player at that time.
featured image credits- trollfootball.me