Simply representing your country at the World Cup is an honor bestowed upon a few very lucky players. Winning the most prestigious individual award in the tournament is something that football players only dream of. The World Cup in Qatar is going to be the swansong of many prolific players. But who has the best chance of winning the Golden Ball this year?
Golden Ball World Cup predictions
These are the favorites to win the World Cup’s Golden Ball.
Prediction 1: Lionel Messi @ 1/5 (1.20)
We are sorry Kylian Mbappe fans, Lionel Messi is taking the Golden Ball this time. La Pulga’s sensational performances made him a top favorite to win the Golden Ball in the 2022 World Cup. Experts are saying that this is the best individual World Cup performance in the history of the tournament. Just look at the ratings he got in the games so far:
- 8.8 versus the Netherlands
- 8.1 versus Australia
- 8.7 versus Mexico
- 8.4 versus Poland
- 8.1 versus Saudi Arabia
- 8.5 versus Croatia
Lionel Messi has been ever-present for his country this year. And while La Pulga is at his lethal best, his main rival for the Golden Ball, Kylian Mbappe, isn’t always effective. He had a quiet game against Tunisia, England, and Morocco as the players tried to nullify his tremendous speed.
With the World Cup final drawing near, we believe that the outcome of the game wouldn’t matter much. Lionel Messi is going to win the Golden Ball whether or not Argentina secures the World Cup gold.
Prediction 2: Kylian Mbappe @ 9/2 (5.50)
We’ve seen nothing but the best from Kylian Mbappe this year in the World Cup. Sure, he wasn’t always the best player in the French team as Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann stole the show three times. But that’s only because the defenders always try to nullify this amazing player.
Kylian Mbappe’s speed is at an extraordinary level and you can’t allow yourself to not go the extra mile in containing him. The fact that Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud are still in the fight for the Golden Ball to some degree is thanks to Kylian Mbappe’s contribution.
Even when he doesn’t score or provide assists, he aids France with his positioning, determination, and the fact that he engages so many of the defenders to follow him.
Kylian Mbappe scored five goals and provided his teammates with two assists this season. Without a doubt, he’s Didier Deschamps’ key player and the main chance for France to have a Golden Ball winner.
Prediction 3: Antoine Griezmann @ 8/1 (9.00)
The puppeteer in Didier Deschamps’ lineup is Antoine Griezmann. He won the man-of-the-match award against Morocco for his outstanding contribution. Sure, he didn’t score versus Walid Regragui’s boys but the positioning and passing was a joy to behold. He and Lionel Messi are at the top of the creative charts. Both of them have three assists and it’s a huge honor for Antoine Griezmann to be competing with the legendary Argentine.
Sure, Antoine Griezmann will probably not win the Golden Ball as both Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe have been sensational this year. But Griezmann certainly deserves an honorable mention here.
Golden Ball predictions and odds
As we already said, a lot of bookmakers are not creating a market for the Golden Ball trophy because the odds can become unpredictable. Luckily, punters don't have to worry because of some of the best bookmakers in the world offer markets for this category. At the moment, all of them agree on which players are front runners for the FIFA player of the tournament reward. Stake.com has Mbappe and Benzema both at 10/1 (11.0) odds. Les Bleus won the last world cup and they are among the top 3 favourites once again. Since both Mbappe and Benzema are considered leaders in their squad, it makes sense that they challenge for the Golden Ball trophy.
|Player||Best Odds by Stake.com|
Messi takes position number three with odds of 12/1 (13.0). This might be his last world cup and it might be the last opportunity for this Argentinian generation of players to win this tournament. They managed to defeat Brazil to win the last Copa America and come to the world cup undefeated over the last 35 fixtures. That's why SkyBet has different odds than Stake.com. This bookmaker gives the advantage to Lionel Messi as he is tied with Mbappe at 10/1 (11.0) odds to win the Golden Ball.
Last but not least, most Golden Ball predictions suggest that we have to mention a Brazilian player in our list. After all, the “Selecao” are favourites to bring home the world cup trophy. Bookmakers believe that Neymar Junior is the player who can be the best player in Qatar 2022. Stake.com is backing him at 14/1 (15.0) odds while SkyBet has Neymar at 12/1 (13.0) odds.
Golden Ball predictions – History of the Golden Ball trophy
Introduced in 1982, the Golden Ball is a trophy given to the best player during a world cup. It's not measured by who scored or assisted the most but rather by whose influence helped the squad win a world cup trophy or at least reach the final. In each world cup, the three best players are rewarded for their individual performances. The third one gets a Bronze Ball trophy, the second one a Silver Ball trophy, and the best player gets the Golden Ball. So far, we have seen 10 winners in previous world cup editions. Italian Paolo Rossi won the first one back in 1982 during the world cup in Spain. Luka Modric is the player who has crowned the FIFA player of the tournament and he took the last Golden Ball trophy home.
As we can see, this reward is not always awarded to a player who wins the world cup. Luka Modric was neither the top scorer nor was he top in any other category during the world cup 2018. However, his influence on the Croatian squad as a leader was how they made it to the final even though Croatia was a major underdog. Something similar happened in 2014 as well. Even though Argentina lost the final to Germany, Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball trophy. Individually, he was the best player during that tournament, even though his nation lost in the final.
This is why golden ball predictions have to be looked at objectively. We need to discuss players who are leaders of nations that are capable of winning the world cup. It's not about the best goalscorers or most dominant individuals. Ratings for the Golden Ball trophy can't be measured statistically. This trophy usually goes to the most valuable player of a nation that makes it far in the tournament.
Who is the Golden Ball favourite?
According to Golden Ball predictions, Kylian Mbappe is the main favourite to win the 2022 Golden Ball trophy.
Who won the last Golden Ball trophy?
Croatian Luka Modric took home the FIFA player of the tournament trophy (Golden Ball).
Which nations are the favourites to lift the world cup trophy?
Brazil is the main favourite to win it all followed by France, England, Argentina, and Spain.
Which nation has the most FIFA player of the tournament trophies?
Italy, Brazil, and Argentina have won this award twice. (Rossi and Schillaci for Italy, Romario and Ronaldo for Brazil, and Maradona and Messi for Argentina).