5 favorites to win the Golden Ball award
Who could win the Golden Ball at the 2022 FIFA World Cup? The Golden Ball is awarded to the best player at every FIFA World Cup. The FIFA technical committee draws up a shortlist of players and then the media chooses the winner via voting.
Players who finish second and third in the voting receive the Silver Ball and the Bronze Ball respectively.
The Golden Ball was initially introduced in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. With the way this 2022 FIFA World Cup is shaping up, we're likely to have quite a few worthy contenders for the coveted individual award.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the five favorites to win the Golden Ball award.
#5 Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands)
Frenkie de Jong has been a key player for the Netherlands in recent years. He was the best player on the pitch in their 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Senegal. de Jong provided a lovely assist for Cody Gakpo's goal which gave the Dutchmen the lead in the final 10 minutes of the 90.
De Jong showed off his nimble-footedness and ability to navigate tight spaces in the subsequent 1-1 draw against Ecuador. His ball progression ability was key to Louis van Gaal's side holding their own against a tireless Ecuadorian side that could have easily won the game.
Frenkie got his first goal of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the game against Qatar. It was a textbook midfield performance from the Barcelona man and he has been the heartbeat of this Dutch side so far.
#4 Casemiro (Brazil)
Despite their wealth in the attacking department being the major talking point heading into this FIFA World Cup, it's Brazil's midfield that has stood out thus far. Five-time Champions League winner Casemiro has been at the heart of Brazil's progression to the knockout stages.
He has been immense in midfield, breaking up play and turning over possession for his side on a regular basis. His game-reading abilities have gone a long way towards Brazil being formidable in defense and conceding just a single goal so far this tournament.
Additionally, Casemiro's thunderous strike in the 87th minute of the game against Switzerland helped Brazil secure a spot in the Round of 16. The Manchester United midfielder has been on top of his game and could prove to be the difference maker for Brazil in the knockout stages.
#3 Kylian Mbappe (France)
As expected, Kylian Mbappe has been among the goals at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He has been an absolute nuisance in the attacking third for Les Bleus and is doing his best to ensure that his side doesn't miss the injured Karim Benzema.
Mbappe has scored five goals and provided two assists in four appearances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup so far. The 23-year-old's pace, ability to beat defenders and the skill to find the back of the net on a consistent basis makes him one of the players to watch out for in Qatar.
#2 Bruno Fernandes (Portugal)
After playing a direct hand in Portugal's first five goals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, there is no doubt that Bruno Fernandes is their main man in midfield. The Manchester United talisman is back to his best and his playmaking ability has been an X-factor for Portugal.
Fernandes produced two spectacular timely assists to help Portugal beat Ghana 3-2 in their World Cup opener. He then bagged a brace as Portugal dispatched Uruguay 2-0 in their second game. In his absence, Portugal lost their final group stage match to South Korea.
#1 Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Lionel Messi is turning back the clock at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This is likely to be his last World Cup and Messi looks like a man on a mission. He has already got three goals and one assist to his name from four appearances.
Messi came up clutch in two of Argentina's most crucial wins so far, against Mexico in the group stage and against Australia in the Round of 16. He has been running rings around defenders and his elite playmaking skills have helped elevate Argentina's game inside the final third.
He is yet to drop a dud at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and if he kicks on in similar fashion, Messi is most likely to go home with a second Golden Ball.