Golden Ball Winners in World Cup History

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Here’s who has won the esteemed award at the men’s FIFA World Cup.

As another tremendous FIFA World Cup comes to a close, several players will be awarded with distinguished titles.

Among the awards is the Golden Ball, which is given to the best player in the competition. The award was first given out at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, when Italian Paolo Rossi dominated competition. Before then, a best player of the tournament was voted on, but no award was given out.

In the 2014 World Cup, Argentinian Lionel Messi earned the award after Uruguayan Diego Forlán took it home in 2010. 

Among the favorites for the 2018 award are Croatia’s Luka Modric, France’s Kylian Mbappe, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, Belgium’s Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne and England’s Harry Kane.

Here’s a complete list of the past Golden Ball and best player winners: 

1930 – José Nasazzi, Uruguay

1934 – Giuseppe Meazza, Italy

1938 – Leônidas, Brazil

1942 – Zizinho, Brazil

1954 – Ferenc Puskás, Hungary

1958 – Didi, Brazil

1962 – Garrincha, Brazil

1966 – Bobby Charlton, England

1970 – Pelé, Brazil

1974 – Johan Cruyff, Netherlands

1978 – Mario Kempes, Argentina

1982 – Paolo Rossi, Italy

1986 – Diego Maradona, Argentina

1990 – Salvatore Schillaci, Italy

1994 – Romário, Brazil

1998 – Ronaldo, Brazil

2002 – Oliver Kahn, Germany

2006 – Zinedine Zidane, France

2010 – Diego Forlán, Uruguay

2014 – Lionel Messi, Argentina

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