World Cup 2018: 4 prime candidates for the Golden Ball award after the Round of 16
The 2018 FIFA World Cup has been quite interesting from the rest of the World Cups. With defending champions Germany out in the group stage and Spain knocked in the Round of 16 by Russia, this World Cup is now referred to the World Cup of the underdogs.
Remarkably, 3 matches in the Round of 16 have gone to extra time and have been decided by the penalty shootouts in which the goalkeepers of the winning teams have become heroes.
The quarter-finals are also most likely to be unpredictable and hence the surprises of the 2018 FIFA World Cup may not be over yet. The Golden ball is given to the best player of the tournament by FIFA, with a shortlist drawn by its technical committee and the winner is voted by the representatives of media.
It has been won by legends like Pele, Garrincha, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona and Bobby Charlton in the past. Lionel Messi was the Golden Ball winner at the 2014 FIFA World Cup when he led Argentina to the World Cup finals with his scintillating performances.
With Messi and Ronaldo out of the tournament, the contest is now wide open for any player to seize their chance of lifting the Golden Ball at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Let us have a look at 4 players who are now possible candidates for the Golden Ball after the Round of 16.
#4 Luka Modric
Luka Modric has been phenomenal in the midfield for Croatia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Being the captain of the Croatian side, he has led from the front by leading Croatia to the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
Having scored 2 goals from 4 matches, Modric received the Man of the Match awards for his superb performances in Croatia's group stage victories over Nigeria and Argentina. He leads the dominating Croatian midfield which humiliated Argentina 3-0 in their 2nd group game.
Having completed 205 successful passes, attempting 59.2 passes per game and maintaining a passing accuracy of 75.4 in opposition's half, Modric is the most deserving midfielder to win the Golden Ball at the World Cup.