Who is the King of Football? What skills are required to become the King?

who is the king of football

Football is one of the most-watched sports globally. It is also known as the King Sport because of its large fan base and the largest, most invested leagues. All of this can be attributed to the players. These players are dedicated and work hard to win their team and country trophies. Their commendable efforts are admired by fans, whereby they earn both name and fame.

This article will discuss how a football player is regarded as the King of Football and who is the ultimate King of Football. We will also discuss who is the King of Football in 2022 and to whom the title has been awarded since 2016.

Who is the King of football?

There is no official title in football to regard a player as “The King of Football.” However, we have considered the stats from the Ballon d’Or, the highest individual honor in football, to name a football player as the king of football.

Best football players contribute a lot to the game, showing top-level performances and standing up in the most moments conceivable. Among these players, the one who has demonstrated class (Fairplay & talent) alongside individual & collective performances (ultimate trophies collection) during a year are honored with the Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) presented by French news magazine France Football.

The methodology we are using in this blog to determine who the king of football in a particular year is based on who was awarded the Ballon d’Or award that year.

King of Football in 2022

France Football stated in March that the Ballon d’Or voting procedures have changed, and the award will now be judged on performances over a single season rather than a calendar year. The relevance of trophies has been reduced. This means that the prize should reflect the best footballers from each season, rather than those who win the most trophies.

With all that in mind and incumbent champion Lionel Messi vying for an eighth Golden Ball, who will take the crown in October 2022?

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema checks every box required to win the Ballon d’Or in 2022. In terms of impact on the 2021-22 Europa season, Benzema scored 45 goals with 14 assists. In fact, on the back of Benzema’s prolific goal-scoring prowess, Real Madrid went on to win the Champions League.

Here are some stats for 2021-22:

Karim BenzemaGoalsAssists
Champions League151
La Liga2712
UEFA Nations League10
Supercopa de Espana21

No player comes close to him, and he will justifiably take the Golden Ball at the October ceremony, making him the king of football for 2022.

King of Football in 2021

Lionel Messi, the Argentine genius, has been the King of Football in 2021. Lionel Messi received his 7th Golden Ball when the results were announced by France Football on November 29 in Paris, defeating Robert Lewandowski into second and Jorginho in third place.

In 2020-21, Messi scored 41 goals with 17 assists and almost single-handedly propelled Barcelona to the La Liga & Copa del Rey victory before winning Player of the Tournament and the Golden Boot at the Copa America, giving the Argentine his first big international trophy.

King of Football in 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no one was recognized as the King of Football 2020. This decision was finalized after France Football announced that owing to a “lack of acceptable fair circumstances,” the prestigious Ballon d’Or prize, which Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have recently dominated, will not be handed in 2020.  

King of Football in 2019

Lionel Messi was the King of Football in 2019 after the Barcelona forward won the Ballon d’Or award for the world’s finest male player for a sixth record.

The 32-year-old Argentine had a fantastic 2018-19 season, scoring 36 goals in 34 La Liga matches as Barcelona retained their title and scoring another 12 goals in his 10 Champions League games.

Messi scored 51 goals in 50 appearances with 19 assists in the 2018-19 season. Check out the King of Football in 2019 goal stats here.

King of Football in 2018

Luka Modric was the King of Football in 2018. He was declared the winner of the 2018 Ballon d’Or, beating out Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, and Lionel Messi. After winning this prize, the Real Madrid midfielder became the first from his home country of Croatia to do so.

Modric was instrumental in his club’s third consecutive Champions League title, where he established himself as the best midfielder in the world. He may have put an end to the argument in Russia when he led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final and was named the tournament’s best player. Since then, he has won the 2018 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year title and the FIFA Best Men’s Player honor for 2018.

King of Football 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo has been the King of Football in 2017. The Real Madrid star won the Ballon d’Or in 2017 after leading his side to a La Liga and Champions League double in 2016-17. It’s the fifth time that the Portugal international has received the award.

During the 2016-17 season, he scored 25 goals in La Liga and 12 goals in the Champions League, including a brace in the final against Juventus.

Ronaldo scored 42 goals in 46 appearances with 11 assists across 2016-17. In October, he was voted the Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2016-17. Check out the King of Football in 2017 goal stats here.

King of Football in 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo has been the King of Football in 2016. The prolific Portuguese won his fourth Ballon d’Or, defeating Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann. In 2008, 2013, and 2014, Ronalda previously won the prestigious award and possibly had his most successful year, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid before captaining his country to European Championship gold in France.

During the 2015-16 season, Ronaldo scored 51 goals in 48 appearances with 15 assists. In Jan 2016, he was awarded the Best FIFA Football Awards.

Who is the Ultimate King of Football?

Born on October 23, 1940, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, commonly known as Pelé, is a famous Brazilian footballer and an iconic soccer player. He ruled the game to being branded the “King of Football” during his active years.

Pelé, nicknamed “The King,” is a great sporting figure who scored 1281 goals in 1363 games with his immaculate style, thrilling skill, and fantastic performance. He is the most prolific domestic league goal-scorer in football history, with 650 goals in 694 league appearances. He is largely recognized as the best player by football fans, pundits, analysts, and players to date.

Why is Pelé recognized as the King of Football?

As per our methodology, the player who has won the Ballon d’Or award each year is named the King of Football for that particular year. Thus, the football player who has won maximum Ballon d’Or awards will be regarded as the ultimate king of football.

Although Messi has won 7 Ballon d’Or awards to date, much more than Pelé, why have we named Pelé the King of football? Well, according to the organizers of France football, Pelé would have won 7 awards. Apart, from the Ballon d’Or award, we have also taken into consideration if the player has won any world cups. As compared to Messi and Ronaldo, Pelé has won three world cups.

Pelé was a prolific goal scorer known for anticipating opponents in the area and precision finishing opportunities on either foot. Pelé was also a dedicated team player and a polished forward with exceptional perception and awareness. Since his retirement in 1977, he has been a worldwide ambassador for football.

Key moments of Pelé’s career

Pelé’s first major title came in 1958, when Santos won the Campeonato Paulista. He also holds the record for being the youngest player (17 years) to score a hat-trick in the 1958 World Cup. He finished the tournament as the tournament’s leading scorer, with 58 goals.

Pelé scored the Gol de Placa (plaque goal) against Fluminense in 1961 at the renowned Maracan Stadium. He received the ball on the edge of his penalty area and sprinted the field’s length, feinting his opponents before striking the ball past the goalkeeper. A plaque commemorating “the most magnificent goal in the history of the Maracana” was commissioned.

Pelé was the world’s best-rated player in the 1962 World Cup. He scored his 1000th goal in all competitions in 1969. The O Milésimo (The Thousandth) goal was scored on a penalty kick against Vasco da Gama, again at the Maracan. Pelé’s World Cup career ended with 12 goals in 14 games. Check out the goal tally of Pele for various clubs here.

Pelé’s awards & achievements

Pelé collected numerous trophies, including the FIFA World Cup Best Young Player & Silver Ball in 1958, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (Best Player) in 1970, and the South American Championship Best Player in 1959. TIME Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential persons of the twentieth century. In 1977, the United Nations named him a Citizen of the World. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the honorary title Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire on him in 1997.

In 1999, the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) named him “Football Player of the Century.” In addition, the International Olympic Committee named him “Athlete of the Century.”

Great players evolve due to their exemplary efforts and outstanding contribution to the game. Hope this article will help you have a firm knowledge of the greatest football players of all time, who are regarded as the King of Football.

Who is the King of Football – FAQs

Who will be the King of Football in 2022?

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema can be recognized as the King of Football in 2022, given his commendable impact during the 2021-22 European season.

Who is the God of football?

Pelé is regarded as the god of football. Take a look at this article to know why.

Who is the richest football player?

Lionel Andrés Messi is the richest footballer. Take a look at this article to know about the top 18 richest football players.

What is the Ballon d’Or?

The Ballon d’Or (Golden Ball) is an annual football award given by the French news magazine France Football to the male football players who have performed the best in the preceding year, as determined by a vote by football journalists.

Who has the most Ballon d’Or to date?

Lionel Messi owns the most Ballons d’Or to date, with seven awards.