The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is here and some of the world’s best players will be on display across the next three weeks in Qatar.
A lot of players will be eyeing up the Golden Boot — the award for the most goals scored at the tournament — as it will often boost their teams chances of winning the World Cup, but thankfully there are other ways of recognising the best players that doesn’t just look at goalscorers.
The World Cup Golden Ball award was first officially introduced in 1982 for the World Cup in Spain, after an unofficial Golden Ball was awarded to Mario Kempes in 1978. The first official winner of the Golden ball was Paolo Rossi as he helped guide Italy to their third World Cup crown, beating West Germany in the final. Since Rossi’s win, nine other players have won the Golden Ball, with no player winning it more than once.
2022 World Cup Golden Ball pre-tournament favourites
|Kevin De Bruyne||12/1|
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Rossi is also one of just two players to win the official Golden Ball as well as the Golden Boot at the same World Cup, topscoring in 1982 with three goals. Another Italian, Salvatore Schillaci is the only other player to achieve the feat with the Golden Ball in 1990 and the Golden Boot (six goals) but his side only finished third. It is worth noting that Kempes, the winner of the unofficial Golden Ball in 1978 was also top scorer with six goals to help hosts Argentina win the World Cup.
Last time out Luka Modric was the Golden Ball winner as he inspired Croatia to a silver medal, pipping Eden Hazard to the post; Antoine Griezmann completed the top three taking home the Bronze Ball. Modric has a chance to become the first player to win two Golden Balls, but he has competition with 2014 winner Lionel Messi hoping his performances can inspire Argentina to World Cup glory.
Another thing to look at for the Golden Ball is how creative a player is, with assists also important for helping teams win the World Cup.
2022 World Cup assist leaders
Players with the same amount of assists are ranked by fewer minutes played. Stats correct as of 22:40, 30/11/22.