The latest Ballon d’Or winner has just been unveiled; Cristiano Ronaldo winning it for a third time, finishing ahead of Lionel Messi and German keeper Manuel Neuer.

Ronaldo still trails his Argentian rival though in the all time winners stakes, with Messi the only one to have won the title four times.

ballon d'orHowever, a Newcastle United legend also appears in the all time greats list, with only five players having won the Ballon d’Or award more times than him.

Step forward, Kevin Keegan.

It sometimes gets glossed over just what a brilliant player Kevin Keegan was, and while he didn’t quite have that burst of speed which one of his trademarks by the time he arrived at Newcastle, he more than made up for it as he adapted his game and led Newcastle United out of oblivion and into the top tier of English football, later to repeat the dose as a manager.

The hysteria and excitement when KK was brought back as manager in 1992, was nothing compared to the mood on Tyneside when the then England Captain agreed to come to then second division Newcastle United. If you weren’t around then, ask your dad (or mam)!

It is laughable that recent polls have asked whether Steven Gerrard is Liverpool’s greatest ever player. Comparing him to Dalglish and Keegan is laughable.

Kevin Keegan won three European Cups and numerous league titles and cups with the scousers and didn’t even win the Ballon d’Or for his troubles! It was only when he made the ground breaking decision to move to Germany and play for Hamburg that the future Newcastle player/Captain/Manager would get the top award winning it twice in 1978 and 1979, having also finished runner-up in 1977.

No other British player has won the Ballon d’Or more than once and these are those who have won the award twice or more;

4 Lionel Messi

3 John Cruyff

3 Michel Platini

3 Marco Van Basten

3 Cristiano Ronaldo

2 Kevin Keegan

2 Alfredo Di Stefano

2 Franz Beckenbauer

2 Ronaldo (Brazilian one!)

2 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

Other British winners are Stanley Matthews (1956), Dennis Law (1964), Bobby Charlton (1966), George Best (1968) and Michael Owen (2001).

Alan Shearer came closest to winning it in 1996 when he finished third behind Matthias Sammer and (Brazilian) Ronaldo, while one other Newcastle connection is our old mate Ruud Gullit won it in 1987.

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