At the FIFA World Cup finals, the player with the most outstanding performance receives the Golden Ball. The FIFA special council develops a list, and media houses vote to choose the champion. The 1982 FIFA World Cup marked the debut of the Golden Ball trophy.
There have already been ten Golden Ball champions, and no athlete has ever received the honor twice. The Silver Ball trophy and the Bronze Ball trophy, given to the second-and third-best performers, are similar to the Golden Ball trophy.
- 2002 FIFA World Cup: Oliver Kahn (Germany)
Oliver Kahn appeared to be practically unbeatable as the goalkeeper for Germany until Ronaldo scored twice against him in the 2002 FIFA World Cup final. He was a terrifying presence as German goalkeeper, and his brilliant play allowed just one goal in six games leading up to the championship, which was essential to their supremacy. He recorded five spotless victories and won the well-deserved Golden Ball.
- 2006 FIFA World Cup: Zinedine Zidane (France)
After the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Zinedine Zidane retired from football. Zidane dominated the competition with his deft touch and creative playmaking, but his journey came to a disappointing end in the championship game. France lost to Italy in the shootout after Zizou was dismissed for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the championship game. In the final rounds, he delivered a few fascinating performances against Spain and Brazil.
- 2010 FIFA World Cup: Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Diego Forlan was not only awarded the Golden Ball at the 2010 FIFA World Cup but had a chance to earn the Golden Boot. With the help of Forlan’s five scores, Uruguay eventually finished in fourth place. He and Thomas Muller shared the tournament’s best scoring honors, but Muller won because of more assists. Forlan frightened goalkeepers with accurate long-range strikes during the game while scoring some beautiful goals.
- 2014 FIFA World Cup: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Lionel Messi came agonizingly close to winning the game. As a result of his four goals in three group stage games, he significantly impacted the Argentinian team. Additionally, Messi assisted Argentina in its Round of 16 victory over Switzerland. However, as the tournament ended, his contributions decreased as he found it difficult to perform at his best against tenacious defenses. Despite this, Messi was awarded the Golden Ball for his efforts.
- 2018 FIFA World Cup: Luka Modric (Croatia)
Nobody anticipated that Croatia would go to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final. Croatia’s second “Gold Group,” led by the incredibly gifted midfield duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, among other talents, had a great run.
In the competition, he contributed one assist and two critical goals. However, Modric’s ability to direct play and dismantle defenses with his remarkable dribbling skills made Croatia a threatening team.