Playing for both club and country, they have thrilled football fans around the world over the past decade. FIFA.com looks back at the glittering careers of nine footballing giants.
1991, Lothar Matthaeus
The very first trophy went to a living legend of European football. The 1990 FIFA World Cup Italy™ winning captain and Internazionale midfield general received the award for his outstanding consistency at the highest level.
"I never considered myself to be a supremely talented player, rather someone who single-mindedly knew how to get a job done", says the great German skipper. And get the job done he certainly did! His record is quite simply second-to-none; appearances in five FIFA World Cups (a record 25 matches), 150 international caps, six German championship titles, five German Cup winner's medals, two UEFA Cup winner's medals, a FIFA World Cup and a European Championship winner's medal!
1992, Marco van Basten
The FIFA Player of the Year award was to be the brilliant Netherlands and AC Milan star's last major trophy. An out-and-out centre forward in the grand old tradition, Marco was a role model for a whole generation of future strikers. Despite starting on the bench, he shot to fame in the 1988 UEFA European Championship. A hat-trick against England in Holland's second game won him a place in the Oranje side and the rest is history; as is the unforgettable dipping volley he fired past Russian keeper Rinat Dassaev from an impossible angle in the Final, bringing the Olympia Stadion to its feet.
His club career at AC Milan was littered with trophies: four Italian championships, 3 European Cups and the European Footballer of the Year award 3 years running. His FIFA World Player of the Year award came in 1992 on the back of an outstanding season which saw him finish top-scorer, or "capocannoniere", in Italy with 25 goals. In all, Marco hit the back of the net 218 times in a career that was cruelly cut short by injury. AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani once famously said: "Marco is like Leonardo de Vinci: eclectic; an engineer and at the same time an artist". Unfortunately the multifaceted Dutch Master was finally forced to hang up his boots in 1996 after three years of unsuccessful surgery.
1993, Roberto Baggio
"Il Divino Codino" is a footballing genius: an inch-perfect passer of the ball, a free-kick specialist and a sensational dribbler. In his heyday he was unstoppable; seemingly capable of rounding any number of defenders before finishing in style. Who will ever forget his goal against Czechoslovakia at Italia 90 when he took on and beat the whole Czech defence? Venerated as a demi-god at Fiorentina, rioting broke out in the streets of Florence the day Roberto signed for Juventus.
He was voted European Footballer of the Year in 1993 after leading Juventus to triumph in the UEFA Cup, and he followed that up with an outstanding display at USA 94, taking the Squadra Azzurra virtually single-handedly all the way to the Final, scoring five of his side's six goals from the second round on. The pony-tailed maestro's career has also been punctuated with disappointments and injuries, but he has always bounced back with undying self-belief. "I've never had to resurrect my career because my career has never been over", says this never ruffled Buddhist. Legend has it that the Pope once told Baggio "you are my greatest challenge".