World Cup 2018: Top five contenders for the Golden Ball
#2 EDEN HAZARD
The Belgian had received a lot of criticism on the back end of a disappointing campaign with Chelsea. Doubts had been raised over his ability to inspire Belgium, owing to his under performance at the last two national team tournaments, with De Bruyne being touted as the man who could lead his country if an under-performing group of talented players were to go all the way.
Hazard has definitely proved his critics wrong. His performances at this World Cup have been breathtaking, leading Belgium to her first semi-final appearance in 32 years.
The Chelsea forward has scored two goals and recorded two assists including the cross for Fellaini's equalizer against Japan.
Hazard's willingness to run at defenders and carry the ball under pressure has been instrumental to Belgium's achievements at this World Cup. This was fully evident in their quarter-final triumph, where the 27-year-old made World Cup history by completing all his 10 take ons, recording the highest number for a 100% success rate in a single match since 1966.
Although he ultimately fell short in his ultimate aim of captaining his country to its first ever World Cup, by outperforming Neymar in their quarter-final clash, Hazard can claim to have fulfilled his declaration of taking over as the World Cup's superstar following Messi and Ronaldo's eliminations.