World Cup 2022 Golden Ball: Who is leading the race to be crowned best player in Qatar out of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Jude Bellingham and Cody Gakpo
The PSG striker found the net twice in the second half as the reigning champions set up a quarter final tie with England this weekend. He has five goals and two assists in four appearances, although one of those matches was only a 27-minute cameo in a defeat to Tunisia.
Lionel Messi – who won the award in 2014 – is second favourite to be named as the best player at the tournament. The Golden Ball award is presented to the best player at each World Cup and was first introduced for the 1982 tournament in Spain.
No player has ever won it more than once while Paolo Rossi was the first player to win it. Luka Modric won it most recently as he was given the award after Croatia reached the final in Russia before losing 4-2 to France in 2018.
Uruguay’s Diego Forlán, France legend Zinedine Zidane and ex-Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn are the other players to win it since the turn of the millennium. Ronaldo won the award in 1998 after Brazil lost 3-0 to France in the final.
Romário was the first Brazilian to win the award as he was named the best player in 1994. He was also the last player to win the award who was part of the tournament-winning side.
Jude Bellingham is among the favourites to claim the award and his hopes of picking up the Golden Ball would receive a huge boost if England were to knock France out on Saturday.
Latest Golden Ball odds (correct as of 3pm, December 5, 2022)
Kylian Mbappe – 5/4
Lionel Messi – 4/1
Olivier Giroud – 18/1
Bruno Fernandes – 20/1
Jude Bellingham – 20/1
Richarlison – 20/1
Vinicius Junior – 20/1
Harry Kane – 25/1
Neymar – 25/1
Pedri – 25/1
Bukayo Saka – 33/1
Cody Gakpo – 33/1
Cristiano Ronaldo – 33/1