What is GOAL 50? Previous winners & everything you need to know

Goal 50 Messi Ronaldo Split
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Who are the best footballers in the world? The GOAL 50 award is for you to decide that...

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won the GOAL 50 a joint-record five times each while the best playersin the world - men and women - continue to see their achievements recognised.

If you're wondering what the GOAL 50 is, GOAL brings you all the past winners and everything you need to know.

What is the GOAL 50?

GOAL 50 is an annual award presented by GOAL which ranks the 50 best footballers in the world over the previous 12 months.

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Till 2021, the victors were decided by a panel of experts across our 42 editions. The last time around, the power was put in the hands of the fans to decide who finishes top of the pile.

How did it work?

Alexia Putellas Barcelona Goal 50 SLIDELIST

Two shortlists of the 50 best male and female players in the world were made based on their performance at at both club and international level, readers were about to access these lists via the GOAL apps and place their votes.

However, it was not simply be a case of voting for your favourite player as randomly selected head-to-heads were presented to the general voter.

There were 2,450 possible match-ups in both the men's and women's sections, and the players with the most victories was crowned the GOAL 50 winners in both men and women's categories.

Previous GOAL 50 winners

Lionel Messi joined Cristiano Ronaldo with five GOAL 50 awards by winning the 2021 edition of the award with the new voting system.

Former Inter star Wesley Sneijder, Croatia captain Luka Modric, Liverpool defender Van Dijk and former Bayern star Robert Lewandowski are the only players outside of the aforementioned duo to win men's GOAL 50 since its inception.

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas won the last edition of the GOAL 50 in the women's category, and Pernille Harder in 2020, while Megan Rapinoe was the first female recipient of the award when she won it in 2019.

Previous GOAL 50 winners

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1st

2nd

3rd

2008

Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi

Fernando Torres

2009

Lionel Messi

Andres Iniesta

Xavi

2010

Wesley Sneijder

Lionel Messi

Xavi

2011

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Xavi

2012

Cristiano Ronaldo

Iker Casillas

Lionel Messi

2013

Lionel Messi

Franck Ribery

Robert Lewandowski

2014

Cristiano Ronaldo

Arjen Robben

Lionel Messi

2015

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo

Luis Suarez

2016

Cristiano Ronaldo

Luis Suarez

Antoine Griezmann

2017

Cristiano Ronaldo

Gianluigi Buffon

Luka Modric

2018

Luka Modric

Cristiano Ronaldo

Mohamed Salah

2019

Virgil van Dijk

Lionel Messi

Mohamed Salah

2019

Megan Rapinoe

Lucy Bronze

Sam Kerr

2020

Robert Lewandowski

Kevin De Bruyne

Lionel Messi

2020

Pernille Harder

Vivianne Miedema

Lucy Bronze

2021

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo

Robert Lewandowski

2021

Alexia Putellas

Irene Paredes

Asisat Oshoala

Van Dijk became the first ever defender to win the GOAL 50 when he was crowned in 2019, beating competition from Messi and Mohamed Salah.

Other players who have been in the top three include Fernando Torres, Xavi, Luis Suarez, Arjen Robben Antoine Griezmann and Gianluigi Buffon.

Messi was handed the GOAL 50 in 2021 as the PSG star earned a record-extending eighth top-scorer award in La Liga with Barcelona before winning the Copa America with Argentina and picking up the tournament's Golden Ball and Golden Boot.

He beat Ronaldo and Lewandowski to first place, with Alexia Putellas being crowned the women's winner.

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