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Golden Ball Winners in Football World Cup

International football community saw the inception of Football World Cup in 1930. However the prestigious Golden Ball trophy was introduced since the 1982 Football World Cup. Check out this list of recent winners of the Golden Ball.

5. O Kahn

Team: Germany

Source: Oliver Kahn / Instagram

Kahn is the only goalkeeper to receive the coveted Golden Ball in World Cup history. The leader of Die Mannschaft guided his team to the finals of the 2002 World Cup. En-route to the finals, Kahn kept 5 clean sheets in 6 games but failed to keep one against eventual champions Brazil in the final.

4. Z Zidane

Team: France

Source: Zidane / Instagram

Arguably the greatest French footballer of all time and one of the legends of the game, Zidane won the Golden Ball in 2006 World Cup. Although Zizou is remembered for all the wrong reasons in the 2006 final against Italy, he scored 3 goals and 2 assists in 7 matches of the tournament. Zidane produced one of the best midfield masterclasses against the Brazilian super-team in the quarter-finals at the Waldstadion.

3. D Forlán

Team: Uruguay

Source: Diego Forlan / Instagram

The Uruguayan striker won the Golden Ball trophy as La Celeste reached the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup. The first World Cup to take place in the continent of Africa, Forlán scored 5 goals and provided 1 assist in 7 matches to entertain the crowds. One of the most influential number 9s of his generation, Forlan’s best performance came in the group stage against the hosts South Africa. as he scored a brace against the Bafana Bafana.

2. L Messi

Team: Argentina

Source: Leo Messi / Instagram

Regarded as the GOAT footballer by most of the coaches, players and fans, Messi failed to lift the World Cup for Argentina in 2014 but added the Golden Ball to his long list of achievements. Messi scored 4 goals and provided 1 assist in 7 matches and was just a free kick away from lifting the World Cup on the back of such strong performances. The 35-year old forward has already announced that the 2022 World Cup will be his last attempt to secure the trophy once again for La Albiceleste.

1. L Modrić

Team: Croatia

Source: Luka Modric / Instagram

The heart and engine of Croatian football for more than a decade, the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner led his team to the finals of 2018 World Cup. With 2 goals and 1 assist in 7 matches, Modric came in clutch for his side in every penalty shootout enroute the finals. The 2018 Croatian side also became the first national team from the country to reach the World Cup finals.

The complete list of all the Golden Ball winners since 1982 is shown below:

World Cup

Golden Ball Winner

1982 Spain P Rossi (Italy)
1986 Mexico D Maradona (Argentina)
1990 Italy S Schillaci (Italy)
1994 United States Romario (Brazil)
1998 France Ronaldo (Brazil)
2002 South Korea / Japan O Kahn (Germany)
2006 Germany Z Zidane (France)
2010 South Africa D Forlan (Uruguay)
2014 Brazil L Messi (Argentina)
2018 Russia L Modric (Croatia)


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