Ranking every Ballon d'Or winner of the Champions League era

While the Ballon d'Or has been presented in a variety of settings over the years, 

 the core principle at its heart has remained constant. From Sir Stanley Matthews' first win in 1956 to Lionel Messi's 2023 win on Monday, 

 being awarded the golden ball has been regarded as the most prestigious individual honor available in football.

 and the judging panel assembled by the award's founders, French magazine France Football,

was made up entirely of journalists. This, however, has grown significantly over time.

 it was expanded to include coaches and captains of national teams. Since then, this has been restricted to the coaches and captains of the top 100 teams in FIFA's world rankings.

The award was merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2010, only to be split again in 2015. 

This resulted in the renamed The Best FIFA Award, which recognized both male and female players, and the Ballon d'Or Féminin was created two years later to follow suit.

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