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FIFA World Cup 2018: Top 5 Contenders for the Golden Ball2 min read

Isco Griezmann Ronaldo Neymar Messi

5. Isco (SPAIN) 

The Spanish team is filled with midfielders of the highest quality, one of them is the Real Madrid man Isco. After gradually earning his spot in the elite batch of midfielders, the 26-year old attacking midfielder has been in red-hot form for La Roja in their qualifiers where he scored 5 goals and made 2 assists in his 8 matches. His stunning ability to dribble, create space and make through balls is a rare combination to have on a player and undoubtedly a welcome one. This World Cup will be the first one for Isco and it might as be his best.

 

4. Antoine Griezmann (FRANCE)

The Player of the tournament of EURO 2016, Antoine Griezmann ended his season with 29 goals in all competition as he helped Atletico lift the Europa League trophy and the 2nd place in the La Liga table. With most of the forwards not being guaranteed a spot in the frontline of France, Griezmann is one of the players who is assured to start for Les Bleus. The Atletico forward will be on penalty duty, which could add an extra goal or two to his final tally, putting him firmly in contention for the massive accolade.

 

3. Cristiano Ronaldo (PORTUGAL)

Even with the EURO 2016 trophy in their hands, the Portugal team is suffering from a severe lack of quality, compared to other European heavyweights. Hence, if Ronaldo were to compete with other players on this list, he needs to have a mighty run in the tournament. After a slow start to the season, Ronaldo ended the campaign with an astonishing 44 goals from 44 games, level with Mohammed Salah and just one behind Lionel Messi, who had played more games. In what could be his last World Cup, the 33-year old star is bound to be just as determined to collect the Golden Ball as much as the World Cup.

 

2. Neymar Jr. (BRAZIL)

Brazil has been vastly reliant on Neymar for the past five years or so but this time have a squad of players worthy of wearing the famous yellow shirt. Players like Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus help in their shift away from being reliant on the PSG superstar. The Brazillian is on a race to be fit for Brazil’s opener against Switzerland and even if he were to recover in time, he has not played a single competitive match since suffering a broken metatarsal in February. The 26-year old Ligue 1 Player of the season has the ability to change the game and is definitely a major candidate for the award.

 

1. Lionel Messi (ARGENTINA)

The current holder of the Golden Ball (2014 Brazil) and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi had an immensely prolific season finishing ahead of Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo as Europe’s top scorer. The fact that he performs like this every year is the reason that the fans are not going crazy about his 45 goals in 54 games. Messi needs to guide Argentina one step further than the previous World Cup in order to be crowned the tournament’s best player for the second time. As it stands, no footballer has received the award more than once but if anyone could do it, it has to be Messi.

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