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Six Ballon D'Or Facts You Might Not Have Known

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will be hoping to equal Lionel Messi's record haul of five Ballons d'Or on Thursday, but did you know these six facts about the prestigious award?

Tired of reading? Click through the gallery above to see six Ballon d'Or facts you might not have known, according to The Sun.

The two superstars have dominated the award since 2008; in fact, the last time somebody else lifted the golden ball was in 2007, when former Brazil international Kaka did so.

To many, the 1990s is seen as the golden generation of the award as it gifted the football world 10 different winners, something that is seemingly unimaginable with the recent dominance of Ronaldo and Messi.

Here are six facts you might not have known about the Ballon d'Or, which was inaugurated in 1956, according to The Sun:

1. The first non-European to win the Ballon d'Or was Liberian George Weah in 1995.

2. The countries with the most Ballon d'Or winners are Germany and Holland, with seven each.

3. The only goalkeeper to win the award is Lev Yashin in 1963.

4. The first ever winner of the Ballon d'Or was Sir Stanley Matthews in 1956.

5. The last time three players from the same club were shortlist for the final three was in 2010, when FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez took up the podium.

6. The club with the most Ballon d'Or winners is FC Barcelona, who have had six of their players claim the prestigious prize.

Did any of these facts surprise you? Have your say in the comments section below. 

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