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Pele has same number of Ballon d'Or awards as Lionel Messi according to France Football

Pele has same number of Ballon d'Or awards as Lionel Messi according to France Football

He has the same number of Ballon d'Ors as Messi.

Pele has the same number of Ballon d’Or awards as Lionel Messi, France Football has claimed.

It has been widely reported that Messi has been told that he will win the Ballon d’Or for a record-extending eighth time at a ceremony in Paris on Monday.

The expected triumph comes after the Argentina star inspired his country to their first World Cup triumph since 1986 in Qatar last December.

But for now, at least, Messi has won seven Ballon d’Ors across three decades - two more awards than his nearest rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, France Football claimed in 2016 that someone else is also on seven awards - Brazil icon Pele.

Indeed, until 1995 only European footballers were eligible to win the Ballon d'Or. France Football changed that rule and opened up the award to truly honour the world's best.

Then in 2016, the publication went back and did an "international re-evaluation" to calculate who should have won the Ballon d'Or had it always been global.

Upon the re-evaluation they retrospectively gave Pele seven: for 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1970.

They only did this in years when a non-European player deserved to win overall. In turn, Diego Maradona was given two awards while Romario, Mario Kempes and Garrincha also joined Pele on the honorary winners list.

France Football even printed a magazine cover of Pele with his seven trophies along with the headline, "Pele 7 Ballon d'Ors”.

Pele is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of his era, having netted 77 goals for Brazil in just 92 games and won three World Cups - in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Moreover, Pele’s Santos was a match against Europe’s elite. In the Intercontinental Cups of 1962 and 1963 - which pitted the European champions against the Copa Libertadores winners - Santos beat Benfica then AC Milan.

Pele scored nine goals across those five games.

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football, Pele, Lionel Messi, Ballon d'Or