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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  • SimonM68

    Another key attribute thing that set Keegan apart was that he had such an infectious personality. As a fan you actually liked the bloke – not just the player.  And second time around, I think players subsequently came to Newcastle because they wanted to play for him. When he had his rant against Fergie – that’s because he was a heart on the sleeve type of character and it was obviously that he cared deeply. Flawed in some ways but a bloke you’d drive through walls for.
    In the current climate of mercenaries everywhere and a November award that the BBC try and give to anyone who in fact doesn’t not have any form of  personality (or give it to the mam if they can’t be arsed to turn up), passionate characters like KK are even more sorely missed.

  • Maximus Moose

    Pards voted for Williamson, Ronaldo won. So what went wrong ?

  • Boomsong

    Loved the man,how I miss those days.

  • DavidDrape

    KK says he sat on his dads or grandfathers knee hearing stories of past greats/teams so I think its fair to say Newcastle United have always been in his heart as well as the Toons legendary support for the team during the 1974 cup final no doubt would have left a great impression and help plant some seeds to one day come & play for those special fans………………………just a shame that any kids these days sitting on there grandfathers knee wont hear many great story’s other than poor boardroom custodians mediocre teams and managers

  • SimonM68

    DavidDrape Not allowed to sit on grandad’s knee these days David – Operation Yewtree and all that!! ;-)

  • Nicolaus Copernicus

    Keegan humbly tells us that he himself wasn’t so much a great player but more a hard worker. Don’t be fooled by him. Yes, he was a grafter alright, but take a look at the old YouTube videos and you’ll see how fine a footballer he really was.

  • Nicolaus Copernicus

    Couldn’t agree more with your sentiments on Keegan’s anti-Ferguson rant that day all those years ago (’96) at Leeds, ahead of our forthcoming game against Forest. The prevailing wisdom at the time was that Keegan’s outburst was evidence that Ferguson had won the mind game, but I for one never subscribed to that and even to this day I remain proud to have that man voice such truth and passion about his and all of our feelings for Man U and their disingenuous manager.
    Oh to have such passion back in the halls of St James’ Park again!