VIDEO: Six of the best – Matthews, Law, Charlton, Best, Keegan and Owen, the UK’s Ballon d’Or winners

Lost Archives - Stanley matthews at Bloomfield Road in the 1950s

Lost Archives - Stanley matthews at Bloomfield Road in the 1950s

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The UK has provided six of the past winners of a coveted football award that will be handed out tonight.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar will be named the Ballon d’Or winner, and known as the best player on the planet.

Both Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the award for the past seven years, but if Neymar wins he will join an illustrious list.

Here are the UK footballers who have picked up the prestigious gong.

Sir Stanley Matthews

The Englishman won the award, then known as the European Ballon, in 1956, the year it was first handed out. Matthews, who died in 2000, was regarded as one of the finest talents England had produced.

He played at the top level until the age of 50, and became a legend at both Stoke City and Blackpool.

Matthews was known for his incredible dribbling ability.

Denis Law

The only Scot to win the Ballon d’Or, he was presented with it in 1964.

Law is best known for 11 years at Manchester United, where he scored 237 goals in 404 appearances.

The striker helped his club win the First Division in 1965 and 1967.

Bobby Charlton

The Manchester United European Cup winner and World Cup winner with England, won this award in 1966.

He played over 100 times for his country, scoring 49 international goals.

In 1968, Charlton captained the Manchester United team that won the European Cup, scoring twice in the final to help his team become the first English club to win the competition.

George Best

Northern Ireland’s finest footballer was the 1968 winner.

Like Charlton he won the 1968 European Cup, having played for the Red Devils since his debut as a 17-year-old.

Best, who was famed for his love of partying, combined pace, skill, balance, feints, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to ghost past defenders.

Kevin Keegan

A decade after ‘Besty’ won his Ballon, Keegan won the first of two consecutive awards.

He picked up the 1978 and 1979 prizes, having become a superstar in the 70s at Liverpool.

The England international won three First Division titles, two UEFA Cups, the FA Cup and the European Cup.

In 1977 he moved to Hamburg and won the Bundesliga in 1979, reaching another European Cup final a year later.

Michael Owen

The English striker won the 2001 Ballon d’Or, having clinched a famous cup treble with Liverpool.

He picked up the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and Football League Cup.

Owen was Liverpool’s top goal scorer from 1997 to 2004, scoring 118 goals in 216 appearances in the Premier League.

He went on to sign for Real Madrid before spells with Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke.