10. Hristo Stoichkov (1994)
He led an under-power Bulgarian side to the semi-finals of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, scoring 6 goals along the way. If it hadn’t been for his talismanic performance and fantastic ability, Barcelona wouldn’t have won the league title or reached the final of the UEFA Champions League.
09. Marco Van Basten (1988)
There has never been better goal scorer than Marco van Basten. In 1988, he helped Holland win the UEFA European Championships, their last ever international title. Having starred in the season for Ajax, van Basten really shone in his role as the key player in a star-studded Dutch lineup.
08. Eusebio (1965)
In 1965, Eusebio was at the peak of his power. He wasn’t just a great player who had really good skills, but was one who could control the outcome of any football game, against any opposition. He took Benfica to their first European Cup triumph and was the wind of change in Portuguese football.
07. Kevin Keegan (1978, 1979)
At one time, there was probably no better footballer in the world, than Kevin Keegan. He was a master of the game, with fantastic skill and passing ability. An older day Stevie G, only better, Keegan was hailed as the best in the world, twice in row, after leading Liverpool to a couple of fantastic seasons in Europe & domestic football.
06. Lev Yashin (1963)
He was huge, and yet made it seem so easy to get down to the bottom corners. In 1963, Yashin was at the peak of his powers, becoming the only goalkeeper to win the World Player of the Year award, after leading Dynamo Moscow to a magnificent season in Europe and at home.
05. Gerd Muller (1970)
He helped Bayern Munich win the league title and in a year when everyone praised the Brazilian team and Pele for winning the World Cup, Muller took the main individual prize.
04. Alfredo di Stefano (1957)
There was no player better than Alfredo di Stefano and nobody, including Ferenc Puskas, would tell you that. 1957 was his year as Real Madrid ran on the shoulders of the Argentine-born Spaniard.
03. Johan Cruyff (1974)
Total Football and Cruyff were built for each other as they made their way into the history books with a sensational season. Ajax had just come off the Champions League win and Cruyff dominated world football in West Germany, as he led his team to the finals of the world cup.
02. Lothar Matthaus (1990)
He marshaled his players like a king, leading them to a fantastic triumph at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. He was a fantastic player, leading from the front with his tireless running & tackling, performing brilliantly for club & country at the highest levels.
01. Franz Beckenbauer (1976)
He should have won it two years before, when they won the World Cup but Der Kaiser had to wait for Johan Cruyff’s form to dip. Beckenbauer was a leader before anything else, and knew how to get the best out of his team. Not many times has a leader been awarded the trophy simply for being the best leader out there.