Luka Modrić Among Top 3 Candidates for World Cup Golden Ball

Daniela Rogulj

Croatia captain Luka Modrić is one of the main candidates for the Golden Ball.

Champions League winner and Croatia captain Luka Modrić is one of the main candidates for the Golden Ball, which is awarded to the best player of the World Cup, reports on July 14, 2018. 

“I am not thinking about it, the most important is the success of the team, and we want to do something big. Individual prizes are not important to me, they are valuable, but I do not think about them,” Luka said.

Modrić has been selected ‘Man of the Match’ three times at the World Cup thus far. He first received the award after the Nigeria win, followed by Argentina and Russia. His biggest competitors in the for the Golden Ball are France’s Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, both of whom were selected twice as the ‘Man of the Match’. Some have also included English striker Harry Kane as a candidate for the Golden Ball, who currently has six World Cup goals.

For Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić, there is no doubt who should win the prize. “I would be happy if Luka won the Golden Ball. He’s won everything he could in his club career. He is a great player and I think his games in Russia have earned him the award.”

Ivan Rakitić agreed with him. “I’m convinced our captain deserves the Golden Ball. We hope the jury will decide so,” said the Barcelona midfielder. 

A few days ago, Spanish media even wrote ‘Modrić deserves the final, title and the Golden Ball’ and ‘The World Cup has a new hero, Modrić, who could be awarded the Golden Ball’. 

The winner will be chosen by the FIFA Commission which includes Serbian expert Bora Milutinović (73), Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira (75), Dutchman Marco van Basten (53), Nigerian Emmanuel Amunike (47) and Scotsman Andy Roxburgh (74).

Milutinović led five national teams to five consecutive World Cups (Mexico 1986, Costa Rica 1990, USA 1994, Nigeria 1998 and China 2002). Parreira has led six (Kuwait 1982, UAE 1990, Brazil 1994, Saudi Arabia 1998, Brazil 2006, and South Africa 2010). Van Basten is one of the best Dutch strikers of all time, just like Nigeria’s Amunike (47), while Roxburgh is a former Scottish representative and coach.

British bookmakers have Kylian Mbappe as the favorite to win it, followed by Luka and Antoine Griezmann.

The Golden Ball was introduced to the World Cup in Spain in 1982 when Paulo Rossi was named as the best player. 

In any of the 20 world championships so far, no player has been able to win the best player of the tournament twice. The closest was the legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who won the Golden Ball in 1998 in France and was one step away from winning it again four years later in Japan and South Korea. Ronaldo won the prize at the 1998 World Cup where Brazil was second behind France, while four years later, despite the Brazilian celebration, the Golden Ball was given to German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. Brazil won the first place in this championship, Ronaldo was the best goal scorer with eight goals, with both goals in the final, but in the end, the award came to Kahn, who led Germany to the final.

Golden Ball Winners:

1982 – Paolo Rossi (Italy)

1986 – Diego Maradona (Argentina)

1990 – Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)

1994 – Romario (Brazil)

1998 – Ronaldo (Brazil)

2002 – Oliver Kahn (Germany)

2006 – Zinedine Zidane (France)

2010 – Diego Forlan (Uruguay)

2014 – Lionel Messi (Argentina)


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