All Time Football World Cup Golden Ball Winners

Even though on the whole, football is very much a team game in which the efforts of a group of players are valued much higher than a single person’s talents, there is no getting away from the fact that certain individuals in the world of football rise above their peers on special occasions. When this happens, they are rewarded accordingly with individual honours that mark them separately from the rest of their teammates. One such award that marks individual achievement is the World Cup Golden Ball.

What Is The Golden Ball Award In Soccer?

The Golden Ball is an award that is presented to the player who is deemed to have been the most outstanding individual player at the FIFA World Cup. It is an award that is given out once every four years to coincide with the staging of every World Cup tournament.

 Interesting Facts and Information Regarding The Golden Ball

The current version of the Golden Ball was first introduced for the 1982 FIFA World Cup and was sponsored by France Football and Adidas. It was won by Italian footballer, Paolo Rossi.

  • The winner is selected by a vote from media representatives from a shortlist drawn up by the FIFA technical committee.
  • The domestic football club with the most Golden Ball players in history is FC Barcelona, with Johan Cruyff in 1974, Romario in 1994 and Lionel Messi in 2014.
  • Only one goalkeeper has won the Golden Ball in the history of the award and that is Oliver Kahn. Kahn was the German goalkeeper from 1995 to 2006 and was awarded the Golden Ball for his performances in the 2002 FIFA World Cup tournament jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan.
  • Brazil is the nation that has produced the most winners of the Golden Ball, these being: Leonidas (1938), Zizinho (1950), Didi (1958), Garrincha (1962), Pele (1970), Romario (1994) and Ronaldo (1998).
  • No player has received more than one Golden Ball, however, Brazil’s Ronaldo has one Golden Ball and one Silver Ball, and Argentina’s Diego Maradona has one Golden Ball and one Bronze Ball.
  • The winners of the Golden Ball since 1982 in order of the date of the tournament are Paolo Rossi (Italy), Diego Maradona (Argentina), Salvatore Schillaci (Italy), Romario (Brazil), Ronaldo (Brazil), Kahn (Germany), Zidane (France), Forlan (Uruguay), and Messi (Argentina).

Who Was The Last FIFA World Cup Golden Ball Winner?

The last FIFA World Cup Tournament took place in Brazil in 2014. The winner of the Golden Ball on this occasion was Lionel Messi, whose Argentina team were beaten in the final by Germany. Messi impressed throughout the entire competition, scoring four goals and assisting one goal in seven games.

Traditionally, second and third place prizes are also presented in this category, known as the Silver Ball and Bronze Balls respectively. In 2014, the Silver Ball was awarded to Thomas Muller of Germany, and the Bronze Ball was awarded to Arjen Robben of the Netherlands.