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Sivori, Baggio, Zidane... and Pogba? The history behind Juventus' FIFA Ballons d'Or
Pogba is the only Serie A player left within the last 23 finalists. Yet another potential winner to be added to the historical long list of Juventus past winners
by Alessio Manes
Juventus leads the ranking of European clubs with more Ballon d'Or winner with a total of eight trophies, though they could easily be nine, on the bulletin board. The ninth is of course Fabio Cannavaro, who left for Real Madrid in the summer of 2006, , after having an extraordinary year winning in Turin the 29th Juventus' (revoked) Scudetto, and leading Italy to its 4th World Cup as an indomitable captain. The rest is history.

The history behind Juve's official eight winners can be dated back in 1961 when Omar Enrique Sivori, (Argentinian but Italian naturalised) became the first to get his hands on the Ball after mesmerizing with his left foot tricks millions of football fans around the globe. That marvellous, evil genius received the precious award on a February afternoon in 1961, at the old Municipal Stadium in Turin before a European Cup game against the amazing Real Madrid captained by Di Stefano. At that time, the Golden Ball was a minor trophy, compared with the current format. That match was a total disaster for Juve: Sivori played, Di Stefano scored. But the following week, Omar Sivori conquered the Bernabeu with an outstanding performance dressed as a black avenger without a mask.

21 years later another Juventino scored in the same penalty area – this time against Brazil - with elegant and ruthless moves conquering Madrid and leading Italy to win their third World Cup. That man was Paolo “Pablito” Rossi

In 1982, the Italian striker won the first of four golden trophies in a row for Juve, followed by the King Michel le Roi Platini with a hat-trick in the 1983, 1984 and 1985. The French number 10 was the first ever to win the Golden Ball three times in a row.

From a magician to another, the heir of the French King was revealed in 1993 and his name was Roberto Baggio. In that year he convinced the jury with his exceptional yet delicious class, winning the third UEFA Cup for Juventus and scoring a great double against Borussia Dortmund in the final.

The Divin Codino put on display his superb class and talent in the 1994 World Cup in USA where he dragged Italy to the final. Everybody knows the last chapter of that cursed World Cup: Baggio failed his penalty shoot-out along with Baresi and Massaro and his tears were the final curtain for Italy.

Five years later, the Ballon d'Or rose once again over Turin's sky and this time by the hands of another French legionnaire known as Zinédine Yazid Zidane from Marseille. The sweet Zizou received the trophy after an astonishing season with Juve. Wearing the Bianconero, he exhibited many times one of his best skills: free-kicks. Renowned for his elegance, vision and technique, Zinédine Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll, and has been described as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

From a playmaker to another, the 2003 Golden Ball edition went to the Czech footballer Pavel Nedvěd. A complete, resolute and consistent two-footed player, Nedvěd frequently played as a left-sided, offensive wide midfielder. Zdeněk Zeman, a fellow countryman of his, appraised this blond kid at Lazio, but it was in Bianconero where he became a legend. Due to his crossing ability with his left foot, as well as his ability to cut inside and shoot with his right foot, the Furia Ceka was capable of playing everywhere in the midfield. His defensive skills were no less than his defensive ones. Winning the Ballon d'Or as European Footballer of the Year in 2003, Pavel Nedvěd was the second Czech player to receive such a honour and the first since the breakup of Czechoslovakia.

With a total number of eight Ballons D'Or, Juventus is the club who has won this prestigious award the most – something that porbably very few people know about. Perhaps Paul Pogba will be the next one, and Juventus' ninth winnner, but we know it won't be easy.


Tuesday, November 11 th, 2014
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