World Cup: Which players have won the 'Golden Ball'?

Croatia's Luka Modric won the Golden Ball at the last World Cup. (Getty)
Croatia's Luka Modric won the Golden Ball at the last World Cup. (Getty) (Pacific Press via Getty Images)

Winning the Golden Ball at a World Cup might not always indicate that the player was, in fact, the best in the competition.

But the award, in theory, points to that.

Whether controversially or not, some of the biggest stars in world football have won the accolade and etched their names into the history books.

There are some notable omissions including, most recently, Ronaldo or Neymar.

Players from Brazil have won the award most, seven times.

Adding the silver and bronze balls to those wins, it also leads in terms of total wins of individual awards – 13 in total (plus 4 silvers and 2 bronzes).

Next comes Italy, totalling eight (3G, 4S, 1B); Germany, eight (1G, 4S, 3B); Argentina, five (3G, 1S, 1B); Uruguay, four (2G, 1S, 1B); and France, also with four (1G, 3B). Below is the list of Golden Ball winners by World Cup year.

– 1930 - Uruguay World Cup: José Nasazzi, Uruguay

– 1934 - Italy World Cup: Giuseppe Meazza, Italy

– 1938 - France World Cup: Leônidas, Brazil

– 1950 - Brazil World Cup: Zizinho, Brazil

– 1954 - Switzerland World Cup: Ferenc Puskás, Hungary

– 1958 - Sweden World Cup: Didi, Brazil

– 1962 - Chile World Cup: Garrincha, Brazil

– 1966 - England World Cup: Bobby Charlton, England

– 1970 - Mexico World Cup: Pelé, Brazil

– 1974 - Germany World Cup: Johan Cruyff, The Netherlands

– 1978 - Argentina World Cup: Mario Kempes, Argentina

– 1982 - Spain World Cup: Paolo Rossi, Italy

– 1986 - Mexico World Cup: Diego Maradona, Argentina

– 1990 - Italy World Cup: Salvatore Schillaci, Italy

– 1994 - United States World Cup: Romário, Brazil

– 1998 - France World Cup: Ronaldo, Brazil

– 2002 - South Korea/Japan World Cup: Oliver Kahn, Germany

– 2006 - Germany World Cup: Zinédine Zidane, France

– 2010 - South Africa World Cup: Diego Forlán, Uruguay

– 2014 - Brazil World Cup: Lionel Messi, Argentina

– 2018 - Russia World Cup: Luka Modrić, Croatia