All the Golden Ball winners since its inception
The Golden Ball, one of the most coveted prizes for any footballer, is presented for the outstanding player at each FIFA World Cup. The shortlist is prepared by FIFA's technical committee, and the winner will be declared after the voting by media officials. The Silver Ball and the Bronze Ball are presented to the tournament's second and third best, respectively.
Golden Ball has been awarded since 1982, a total of 9 players have won this award since then. Most of the time the award winners ended in despair, even though they played exceptionally well, they weren't able to make their team sail over the line as football is a team game.
This World Cup has some stunning performances and there are many great players who took part and some new world-class players have been born.
Here are the strong contenders for the Golden Ball this year: Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric, Antoine Griezman, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane, Thibaut Courtois, and Raphael Varane.
There are also some controversies as some of the decisions of the committee raised few eyebrows but we will not look into that at the moment. So let us dive into all the players who have won this coveted prize down the years since its inception.
1982, Spain - Paolo Rossi (Italy)
The Italian striker won the Golden Ball as well as the Golden Shoe (which was awarded to the tournament's top goal scorer). Rossi scored a total of six goals that were crucial for his side's success. He scored twice in the semi-final against Poland; he opened the scoring in the final, which gave them the lead, and scored a memorable hat-trick against favorites Brazil to progress into semi-finals.