That was until last year when Luka Modrić won it for the first time.
This year's race started with two Africans, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, being touted as worthy contestants.
Now, following Egypt's exit from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Salah is out, leaving Mané as Africa's only hope in the race.
Winning tournaments is a huge thing when it comes to deciding who wins Ballon d'Or.
With Messi losing out on the Champions League, the Copa del Rey and the Copa America titles, Salah would've stood a huge chance only if he led Egypt to win this year's AFCON.
In spite of that, Africa isn't losing hope because Senegal is still in the tournament.
Although the likes of Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, are top contenders for this year's Ballon d’Or, Mané could pull off an upset if he ends up leading Senegal to win the AFCON title.