Real Madrid will start the 2018/19 season without a Ballon d’Or winner in their squad for the first time in 18 years.
Serial Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo completed a stunning transfer to Juventus, calling time on his illustrious Real Madrid career.
He enjoyed nine trophy-laden seasons in the Spanish capital, scoring goals at an alarming rate but Real Madrid won’t be calling upon Ronaldo’s services in the new season as he’s set to ply his trade in Italy’s top flight.
His absence for the Champions Leagues holders means the club will be without a Ballon d’Or winner in their squad for the first time in 18 years.
The European giants have boasted six other Ballon d’Or winners since 2000 in the shape of Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Michael Owen, Fabio Cannavaro, and Kaka.
Ronaldo de Lima arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu having already won the prestigious individual honour at Inter Milan in 1997, he then scooped another in 2002 but this time at Real Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane was crowned Ballon d’Or winner in 1998, with Figo bagging the prize in 2000.
Owen, the last Englishman to win the Ballon d’Or, won it in 2001 following his goal-scoring brilliance for Liverpool. He eventually left Anfield for Real Madrid in 2004.
Cannavaro raised gold in 2006 and Kaka won in 2007 (the last man to be named Ballon d’Or winner before the “Ronaldo-Messi monopoly”)
However, Luka Modric is fancied by experts, fans and fellow pros to break up the Ronaldo-Messi monopoly, and be named Ballon d’Or 2018 winner after a superb campaign for both club and country.