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Best candidate for the World Cup Golden Ball

As the Men’s World Cup enters the quarterfinals, it’s not just which team looks most likely to win the prize, but also the players who are at the top of the ranks for the Ballon d’Or honor. The award recognizes the best player of the tournament.

There have been 10 winners since the award was first introduced in 1982. Luka Modric of Croatia was last after leading his team to the 2018 final. There were only three winners. The awards came from the teams that won the World Cup that year, Romario the last time when Brazil won in 1994.

Eight of the 10 winners came from a team that played the final, with Diego Forlan of Uruguay in 2010 and Salvatore Schillaci of Italy in 1990 being the exceptions. Both of their teams lost in the semi-finals.

Despite the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper, Germany’s Oliver Kahn became the first and only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or in 2002.

With that, here’s CTVNews.ca’s look at the top contenders for each of the remaining teams in this tournament:

KYLIAN MBAPPE (FRANCE)

When things settle down, here’s the reward for Mbappe. The best young player of the 2018 World Cup was the mainstay of France with 5 goals in the quarter-final against England.

Playing on the left wing, Mbappe is an absolute nightmare for defenders thanks to his speed, power and smooth skill.

His two goals against Poland were both beautiful strikes, and it was essential to overtake Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny at this tournament.

Turning 24 on December 20, Mbappe has nine World Cup goals in 11 games. If there’s one man to beat Miroslav Klose’s World Cup record of 16, it’s him.


  • main indicator: Mbappe leads the World Cup in shots taken with 34, all the more impressive as he played just the last half hour against Tunisia in the group stage.

LIONEL MESSI (ARGENTINA)

Seeking a second Ballon d’Or after winning it in 2014, Messi’s only cons in the league so far has been a penalty miss against Poland.

After the crucial goal against Mexico that broke the deadlock around an hour into that game, Messi was in brilliant form against Australia with mesmerizing dribbles and, of course, a goal that put Argentina ahead. .

Another goal would tie him up with Gabriel Batistuta for the all-time lead in most World Cup goals by an Argentinian.

What is interesting for the neutrals and unsettling for the Dutchman is that he seems to be getting better as the tournament progresses.


  • main indicator: In addition to goals, Messi leads the league in most passes with 34 and is second only to Mbappe (34) in shots taken with 25.

BRUNO FERNANDES (Portugal)

Fernandes has been in brilliant form for Portugal, coordinating many of the team’s attacks and proving a real spark so far.

He is a player who is not afraid to take risks with his passes or runs, and he was well rewarded against Uruguay with his best performance. He could have, and supposedly should, score a hat-trick in that game.

A stubborn Moroccan defense awaits, and if Fernandes can help unlock the Lions of Atlas, his Ballon d’Or case will rise another notch.


  • main indicator: Fernandes is second only to Mbappe (7) in total goals and assists with 5 goals despite not playing Portugal’s final group stage match against South Korea.

JUDE BELLINGHAM (UK)

It’s hard to believe but Bellingham is actually only 19 years old.

He has been described as a midfielder’s Rolls Royce because of the way he glides smoothly across the pitch and former England stars Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Redknapp have even compared him to midfield legends. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

It’s full of praise but Bellingham is earning it thanks to his footprint across England progressing to the quarter-finals. He is very keen on approaching open space, can pick passes, shoot from opportunities and also perform well in his defensive role.


  • main statistics: Bellingham is second only to Mbappe in terms of assists with five and leads the league in successful tackles with 11.

CASEMIRO (BRAZIL)

It was impossible to resist the form of Brazil’s strongest attacking players, the one that stood out for them by far was Casemiro.

He was their driving force, combining defense and attack from the middle of the pitch, while also performing a spectacular volley against Switzerland to seal the victory. In the game against Korea, he also passed the ball long to Richarlison to start what is now considered the team’s goal in the tournament.

Casemiro is yet to lose a World Cup, having missed Brazil’s 2018 quarter-final loss to Belgium due to a yellow card suspension as well as rest for the team’s final game against Cameroon. in this version.

That was not the case going into the quarter-finals against Croatia.


  • main indicator: Casemiro has the most lax ball recoveries of any Brazilian non-defender with 18.

CODY GAKPO (Netherlands)

The 23-year-old played like a hurricane when he scored with his head, left foot and right foot.

Gakpo became the first Dutch player to score in all three group stage games at a Men’s World Cup. He also became the fourth Dutch player to score in three consecutive World Cup matches, along with Johan Neeskens, Dennis Bergkamp and Wesley Sneijder.

Those feats helped him gain extra attention against the United States in the Round of 16, and although he didn’t score, his teammates played on that en route to a 3- first.

Having been linked with the possibility of leaving current club PSV Eindhoven before the tournament begins, his price has certainly increased after four games.


  • main indicator: It’s not just about goals with Gakpo as he’s fourth in key passes with nine.

ACHRAF HAKIMI (MOROC)

While it was certainly tempting to go with Montreal-born Yassine Bounou, after his heroic performance in the penalty shootout against Spain, he only made two saves in the 300 minutes. his actual fight.

Sofiane Boufal and Sofyan Amrabat are definitely the best performers so far, but Hakimi is just too good.

Asked to play a more defensive role than he was familiar with at PSG, Hakimi defended staunchly while still finding contributing points to Morocco’s attacks. The Canadian may remember that it was he who passed the long ball to striker Youssef En-Nesyri to end up winning the match against Canada.

His swagger was on full display when he picked up a Panenka with the decisive penalty in the penalty shootout against Spain, as well as his penguin celebration borrowed from Sergio Ramos to haunt only Spain coach Luis Enrique has excluded his PSG team-mate from Spain’s World Cup squad.


  • main indicator: Hakimi is leading the league in tackles won with 11.

JOSKO GVARDIOL (CROATIA)

Croatia’s midfield, led by Modric, deserves a lot of praise, but this tournament favors the team’s defence.

Yes, there were four explosive goals against Canada, but Croatia only scored one in the more than 300 minutes the team had to go to the quarterfinals and so it was hard to ignore their defense to keep the team going. stay in these matches.

Gvardiol, 20, has played superbly for Croatia at centre-back alongside veteran Dejan Lovren and that’s even more impressive as he broke his nose just over a month ago and had to wear a mask for protection when competition.

His biggest test now awaits against Brazil in the next round.


  • main indicator: Gvardiol trails England’s Declan Rice and France’s Aurelian Tchouameni in the league’s top spot in interceptions and third in clearances.

HONOUR

Vinicius Jr. of Brazil is believed to be the closest to taking the lead over his team-mate as the top representative for the award, while France’s Antoine Griezmann has had a stellar tournament that to this point still inferior to Mbappe.



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