Spanish Foreign Player of the Year Award (Don Balon Mejor Extranjero de la Liga)

This has been awarded since 1975 as part of the Premio Don Balon awards. Don Balon is a Spanish sports magazine and they hand out this award at the end of each season along with a number of others such as best player player and best newcomer. This particular award is only open to foreign footballers playing in La Liga.

All the big names you'd expect are there - Cruyff, Schuster, Ronaldo, Figo etc. A few surprises stand out though - Argentinian midfielder Juan Barbas won it twice in the 80's before moving to Italian side Lecce. And Turkish forward Nihat deserves a mention as he was up against a multitude of top foreign stars in 2002.

The only other relative unknown to win it was Deportivo's Miroslav Djukic. The classy Yugoslavian defender was awarded it in the 1992-93 season but deserves an honourable mention for the following season as well - picture the scene... Deportivo v Valencia at the Riazor on the final day of the season. Deportivo need a win to claim their 1st ever la Liga title. As the game goes into injury time it's still 0-0. Title rivals Barca are beating Seville so Deportivo need the win. Nando is fouled in the box - penalty to Deportivo. Regular penalty taker Bebeto bottles it, and Donato has been substituted, so up steps Miroslav Djukic. This to win the title. And he... misses. His lame attempt - straight at the goalie Gonzalez, hands Barca the title on goal difference.

Season Player Team Country
2008-09 Lionel Messi Barcelona Argentina
2007-08 Sergio Aguero Atletico Madrid Argentina
2006-07 Lionel Messi Barcelona Argentina
2005-06 Ronaldinho Barcelona Brazil
2004-05 Juan Roman Riquelme Villareal Argentina
2003-04 Ronaldinho Barcelona Brazil
2002-03 Nihat Kahveci Real Sociedad Turkey
2001-02 Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid France
2000-01 Luis Figo Real Madrid Portugal
1999-00 Luis Figo Barcelona Portugal
1998-99 Luis Figo Barcelona Portugal
1997-98 Rivaldo Barcelona Brazil
1996-97 Ronaldo Barcelona Brazil
1995-96 Predrag Mijatovic Valencia Yugoslavia
1994-95 Ivan Zamorano Real Madrid Chile
1993-94 Hristo Stoichkov Barcelona Bulgaria
1992-93 Miroslav Djukic Deportivo la Coruna Yugoslavia
1991-92 Michael Laudrup Barcelona Denmark
1990-91 Bernd Schuster Atletico Madrid West Germany
1989-90 Hugo Sanchez Real Madrid Mexico
1988-89 Oscar Ruggeri Logrones Argentina
1987-88 Alemao Atletico Madrid Brazil
1986-87 Hugo Sanchez Real Madrid Mexico
1985-86 Jorge Valdano Real Madrid Argentina
1984-85 Bernd Schuster Barcelona West Germany
1983-84 Juan Alberto Barbas Real Zaragoza Argentina
1982-83 Juan Alberto Barbas Real Zaragoza Argentina
1981-82 Uli Stielike Real Madrid West Germany
1980-81 Uli Stielike Real Madrid West Germany
1979-80 Uli Stielike Real Madrid West Germany
1978-79 Uli Stielike Real Madrid West Germany
1977-78 Johan Cruyff Barcelona Holland
1976-77 Johan Cruyff Barcelona Holland
1975-76 Johan Neeskens Barcelona Holland