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FIFA World Cup 2022 Player Futures: Who are the Favourites to Win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball Award?

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The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Sunday with a tournament opener between hosts Qatar and Ecuador. The stars are about to bring their A-game into football’s biggest competition in a bid to lead their respective teams to glory.

Brazil are the pre-tournament favourites to lift the golden trophy, and extend their record to six World Cup wins. Argentina, on the other hand, will be looking for a first World Cup win since 1986 after falling short of glory in 2014. Then there’s France who hope to achieve a feat no other team has done since 1962: repeat as World Cup Champions.

While a lot of talks centre around the teams most favoured to win the award, fans will also keep an eye on individual performances from football’s brightest stars. A couple icons are likely to draw the curtains on their World Cup career, while some others will hope to make a dream debut in the tournament.

While all eyes are definitely set on the trophy, it will be interesting to see who picks up the most coveted individual award of the FIFA World Cup: the golden ball presented to the best player of the tournament.

Luka Modric picked up the award in 2018 after leading his team to the final, and will look to replicate his individual brilliance and hopefully land Croatia their first World Cup trophy. But he’ll face stiff competition from 2014 Golden Ball Winner, Lionel Messi, and other top contenders like Neymar and Mbappe.

Amazingly, none of the Golden Ball winners of the previous seven tournaments lifted the World Cup trophy. The last player to achieve this feat was Romario when he led Brazil to a fourth title in 1994.

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Here are the Golden Ball odds for the FIFA World Cup 2022 as of November 17, 2022.

Lionel Messi: +750

Neymar: +1000

Kylian Mbappe: +1100

Kevin De Bruyne: +1400

Karim Benzema: +1400

Vinicius Junior: +1600

Harry Kane: +1600

Cristiano Ronaldo: +2900

Lautaro Martinez: +3300

Pedri: +3400

Memphis Depay: +4000

Raphinha: +4000

Gabriel Jesus: +4000

Bernando Silva: +4400

Lautaro Martinez: +4400

Christian Eriksen: +4400

Romelu Lukaku: +4400

Richarlison: +4400

Phil Foden: +4000

Raheem Sterling: +4400

Antony: +4400

All FIFA World Cup odds from FanDuel Sportsbook

Lionel Messi

The 35-year old is no stranger to winning the Golden Ball award, taking home the prestigious honour in 2014. He already announced this tournament to be his last, and appears to be motivated to lead the Albiceleste to a third World Cup win.

Messi has a much better Argentina squad to lead this time around. He led the team to Copa America victory last year and won the tournament’s best player award. La Pulga also led the team to a 3-0 Finalissma win over Euro 2020 winners Italy and clinched the player of the match award.

Given his brilliant form at PSG and Argentina’s current 36-game unbeaten streak, it’s hard to not see him winning another Golden Ball. This time around, hopefully, a World Cup title for arguably the greatest player of all time.

Neymar

Neymar leads a Brazil team favoured the most by oddsmakers to win the World Cup. As we’ve seen over the years, your team has got to make it deep into the tournament to win the Golden Ball, and Brazil are bound to do so. Of course, Neymar will be accompanied by some other Golden Ball favourites like Vinicius Jr. and Raphina, him being the face of the team gives him the best shot to win the award.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe was France’s star man en route to their World Cup win in Russia, and has only gotten better over the past four years. The PSG forward is the current top scorer in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League, and that says a lot.

It’s hard to bet against France repeating as champions, and Mbappe will yet again be the go-to man in Qatar, and will form a formidable offensive partnership with current Ballon D’or holder, Karim Benzema.

Harry Kane

Harry Kane won the 2018 Golden Boot with six goals, and will hope to lead the Three Lions to only their second trophy and first trophy since 1966. He is yet again among the favourites to win the Golden Boot has a shot at winning the Golden Ball, and he does have a shot at the Golden Ball award should he lead England to a deep run in Qatar.

Image source: Rhett Lewis

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