Four German players who will feature in tonight’s final have been shortlisted for the Golden Ball award for best player of the tournament. Mats Hummels, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller are all in the running for the award. Their fellow finalists Argentina have three of their players nominated; Ángel di María, Javier Mascherano and, unsurprisingly, Lionel Messi. Arjen Robben, Neymar and everyone’s favourite footballer of the moment, James Rodríguez, complete the list of ten.
The Golden Ball was first awarded after the 1978 World Cup to Mario Kempes of Argentina, while the current holder is Diego Forlán of Uruguay. Before 1978 the award did not technically exist and as such a player was simply dubbed the Best Player of the Tournament before sporting giants adidas began to sponsor an official award. Naturally the list of previous winners is dominated by Brazilians but there are one or two surprises such as Ronaldo winning it in 1998 and not 2002, and “Totò” Schillaci winning it for Italia ’90.
Best Player of the Tournament
1930 – José Nasazzi (Uruguay)*
1934 – Giuseppe Meazza (Italy)*
1938 – Leônidas (Brazil)
1950 – Zizinho (Brazil)
1954 – Ferenc Puskás (Hungary)
1958 – Didi (Brazil)*
1962 – Garrincha (Brazil)*
1966 – Bobby Charlton (England)*
1970 – Pelé (Brazil)*
1974 – Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
Golden Ball winners
* also won the World Cup