Creative Soccer Culture

A Look Back At Every Signature Ballon d'Or Boot

The Ballon d’Or is still arguably football’s most prestigious individual award, and since 2010 it has delivered the most decorated archive of limited edition boots thanks to Nike and adidas honouring Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Luca Modric, and now Karim Benzema with limited edition designs of golden game.

Kicked off by adidas in 2010, the Ballon d'Or has swapped camps throughout the 10s with Nike and adidas each supplying their main men with bespoke special edition designs after each ceremony, and in turn delivering some of the most in-demand limited drops of all time. Luca Modric brought that decade of dominance to an end with his win in 2018, while adidas clearly felt Messi didn’t need any more Ballon d’Or boots following his wins in 2019 and 2021, opting against giving the Argentinian what would have been fifth and sixth pairs for his sixth and seventh wins (he didn’t get one for his first Ballon d’Or).

And that brings us right up to date, and a well-earned award for Karim Benzema, which has been followed up by a special edition pair of X Speedportal boots. So what better time to look back on every special edition Ballon d’Or boot... 

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2010 Lionel Messi – adidas F50 Adizero

Starting 12 years ago, Messi was the first player to receive a custom boot following what was his second Ballon d’Or success, sparking a trend that continued each consecutive year thereafter. As with all Messi signature Ballon d’Or boots, it was not available for retail; a key difference to Nike’s approach of manic limited edition scrambling.

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2011 Lionel Messi – adidas F50 Adizero

Following his third straight success, Messi was rewarded with another special edition F50, although this time it featured a greater white presence. Cleverly acknowledging Messi’s three wins with a year appearing per stripe, this was a strong look for the Barcelona man.

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2012 Lionel Messi – adidas F50 Adizero

Messi’s fourth Ballon d'Or in a row was honoured with a black and gold special edition boot that featured four suns on the upper (three on the right and one on the left) to represent his four triumphs. Messi only wore this boot on pitch once, against Malaga in the 2013 Copa del Rey quarter-final.

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2013 Cristiano Ronaldo – Nike Mercurial Vapor IX CR7

Ah yeah, this guy. Nike’s first attempt at showing off a signature edition Ballon d’Or boot came in with a clean aesthetic that featured a crisp white upper, black trim and a stunning gold soleplate for Cristiano Ronaldo. There were only 100 pairs of the boot available for retail, making it one of the most hyped releases of all time.

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2014 Cristiano Ronaldo – Nike Mercurial Vapor IX CR7 ‘Rare Gold’

For Ronaldo’s hat trick (he won his first Ballon d'Or in 2008), Nike released the first Ballon d’Or boot to be based on the Superfly, with the fourth generation getting a stunning golden forefoot that faded back into a black heel and collar. Known as ‘Rare Gold’ – obviously not a reference to Ronaldo’s trophy-laden cabinet – there were only 333 pairs made. Cristiano himself was given an extra-special version, with micro-diamonds embedded on the impressively large CR7 logo that appeared on the instep. Beauty, this.

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2015 Lionel Messi – adidas Messi 15 Platinum

Back to Leo, and this time a rather understated affair for his fifth as adidas went for a pure white and platinum effect on Messi’s signature boot silo. Inside the boot the words “El mas grande de todos los tiempos” – the greatest of all time could be found. Therein lies a debate.


2016 Cristiano Ronaldo – Nike Mercurial Superfly V CR7 Vitórias

Harking back to the 2013 Vapor IX, the Superfly V CR7 Vitórias featured the same white upper with black trim, riding on a golden soleplate. A tried and tested colour combination that delivers every single time. Most recognition for Nike's avid Ballon d'Or collecting step-over merchant.

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2017 Cristiano Ronaldo – Nike Mercurial Superfly V CR7 ‘Quinto Triunfo’

Ronaldo’s fifth triumph saw the release of the Mercurial Superfly V CR7 ‘Quinto Triunfo’, which featured a shimmering golden upper with a Swoosh that hosted the year of his previous Ballon d’Or successes – 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 & 2017. 1000 pairs were released globally with Ronaldo wearing number one in the FIFA Club World Cup.

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2018 Luka Modric – Nike Mercurial Vapor XII 'Touch of Gold'

Breaking a decade of dominance, Real Madrid's midfield maestro Luka Modric passed, jinked, weaved and orchestrated his way to the award in 2018, and as a reward he was given the Nike Mercurial Vapor XII 'Touch of Gold'. They featured a thumb print design that covered the entire upper, shining spectacularly in the black Swoosh in particular. Presented top to toe in 'Pure Platinum', the touch of gold of the boot's name featured subtly, outlining the Swoosh.

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2022 Karim Benzema – Golden X Speedportal

With adidas not presenting Messi with a signature edition for either of his 2019 or 2021 wins and Lewandowski getting robbed by Covid in between, we've had a bit of a break from Ballon d'Or signature editions. But with Karim Benzema's deserved victory comes the return of the trend and a special 1-of-1 pair of X Speedportal boots for the Frenchman, designed with a regal look worthy of his win. 

Will we see Benzema lacing up his special X Speedportals on pitch? All eyes on Real Madrid's match against Elche this Wednesday night...


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