PSG trio Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé are the three favourites to win the Golden Ball at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar this winter.
First officially awarded in 1982, the World Cup Golden Ball has been won by 10 different players. No player has won the award more than once, with Italy, Argentina and Brazil being the only nations to provide multiple winners.
Luka Modrić lifted the trophy in Russia four years ago, but the Real Madrid midfielder is a longshot to go back-to-back in Qatar.
Best odds for the World Cup 2022 Golden Ball
|Team||Odd||Where to bet|
|Kevin De Bruyne||16/1||Betway|
A world champion and named the tournament’s Best Young Player four years ago, it is a natural progression for Kylian Mbappé to become the second French winner of the World Cup Golden Ball.
Mbappé has begun the club season in scintillating form for PSG and will need to maintain those standards if France are to defend their title.
Playing alongside Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema makes Mbappé’s life easier, but sharing the goalscoring burden could be a roadblock to Mbappé winning the Golden Ball. There are better options in this market.
Named Golden Ball winner eight years ago after a heartbreaking loss to Germany in the final, Lionel Messi is again in with a shot this winter. Messi has declined ever so slightly, but he still has performances where he looks like the best player on the planet.
Argentina are widely tipped to go on a deep run in Qatar. If they do, Messi has a great chance at becoming the first player to win multiple World Cup Golden Ball awards.
Much like Messi with Argentina, if Brazil are to reach the final, Neymar will have played a massive part.
His international goalscoring record is spectacular. Despite suffering disappointments in 2014 and 2018, Neymar still showcased the ability which has made him one of the world’s best players for the last decade.
The best player on the supposed best team being 15/1 for the Golden Ball seems reasonable enough. Messi at 12s still looks like better value, though.
Kevin De Bruyne
The hype around Belgium has waned after the Red Devils fell short of lofty expectations in their last four major tournaments.
This squad is not as talented as previous competitions, yet in Kevin De Bruyne, they have the world’s best midfielder, and there are enough good players around him for Roberto Martinez’s team to make some noise.
De Bruyne has started the 2022-23 season at his brilliant best, instantly forming a formidable partnership with Erling Haaland.
Martinez’s Belgium are always playing on the front foot, which should give De Bruyne opportunities to put up some early stats which could prove decisive when it comes to the Golden Ball.
He’s a tempting option at 16/1.
A tally of 12 goals in 15 Premier League matches suggests Harry Kane is hitting form at the right time for England fans. Even amid Tottenham’s inconsistent results, Kane has been effective, and he has a huge role to play as England’s talisman this winter.
Scepticism about England’s status as contenders and a cautious approach could work against Kane here.
Gareth Southgate is a pragmatist and will again be happy to navigate the competition on the basis of a solid defence.
If that leads to a final appearance with Kane in the running for the Golden Boot, he will be in the mix for the Golden Ball, but this 20/1 price seems a bit short.
Notable outsiders to claim the World Cup 2022 Golden Ball
Vinicius Jr was brilliant alongside Karim Benzema in Real Madrid’s Champions League win last season. Benzema’s goals meant he was the man in the spotlight, and while Vinicius is playing with Neymar this winter, this is a chance for him to take centre stage.
The 22-year-old already has 10 goals to his name across La Liga and the Champions League in 2022-23. Should he maintain that production throughout the World Cup, Vinicius is going to get some Golden Ball consideration, and his chances will soar if Neymar underwhelms or suffers an injury.
There’s clearly some value out at 30/1 for a player of Vinicius’ ability.
Frenkie de Jong
This is a real longshot, but 66/1 seems like a value bet on Frenkie de Jong. His Barcelona tenure has been turbulent, including a summer of transfer rumours, but de Jong has been a regular starter for the Catalan giants in the first months of this season.
De Jong isn’t going to produce goals and assists like the leading candidates for the Golden Ball, yet while this award is often skewed towards attacking players, it is not exclusively given to the goalscorers.
Oliver Kahn and Luka Modric have both topped the voting, while Andrea Pirlo, Fabio Cannavaro, Hong Myung-bo and Lilian Thuram have finished in the top three.
The Netherlands should have a straight-forward route to the quarterfinals.
De Jong has plenty of big-game experience, and he has a vital role to play controlling the midfield in Louis van Gaal’s side – this tournament could be when he reminds everyone why he was so highly thought of at Ajax.
A look at the past winners of the Golden Ball
- 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 (Urugay)
- 2014: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
- 2018: Luka Modric (Croatia)
All odds are subject to change