Pavel Nedved (2003)
Many expected 2003 to be Thierry Henry’s year having soared for Arsenal in the 2002/03 campaign. He finished with 32 goals and 28 assists in 55 outings, but the Gunners could only win the FA Cup.
Ultimately, this went against Henry in the France Football voting panel with Nedved getting the nod instead.
The former Czech Republic international had helped Juventus win the Serie A title and finish runners-up in the Champions League to AC Milan. However, Nedved’s Ballon d’Or win caught many by surprise.
Another legend overlooked was Milan skipper Paolo Maldini, who rounded-off the top-three.
While FIFA World Player of the Year, Zinedine Zidane, came home in fifth place.