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The greatest XI of the FIFA World Cup Gold, Silver and Bronze Ball award winners

If soccer were to find a simile in theater, the biggest stage on which an actor could play would undoubtedly be the FIFA World Cup. A great performance in this tournament, grants passages to the history books of this sport. 

Qatar 2022 is fast approaching and with it, the memories of feats achieved throughout the 92-year history of this tournament and the expectations of what can happen when the ball starts rolling in the Middle East on November 20, 2022.

We invite you to take a fantastic journey through the memories of those players who were awarded the Golden, Silver or Bronze award during one of the FIFA World Cups. This is the best XI you can have of those stars.

The individual awards at the World Cup: the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ball award

Qatar 2022 will mark the 40th anniversary of the three best players at each edition of the FIFA World Cup, with 11 awards being presented. This tradition began at Spain 1982, when Italy won its third trophy at the tournament. The best player of every edition since 1982 wins the Golden Ball; the runner ups receive the Silver and Bronze Ball award, respectively.

The list of candidates for the FIFA World Cup Golden, Silver and Bronze Ball award is drawn up by a FIFA technical committee and the winner is chosen by a vote carried out by various representatives of the media.

To date, Italy and Germany are the countries with the most players to have won one of these awards with 5, followed by Brazil with 4, and Argentina and France with 3. Six countries that have never won the World Cup have had players awarded: Croatia, Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark and Korea. Who will be the stars that will earn a place in the history of this tournament in Qatar 2022?

The best XI of the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ball award winners in the World Cup

The formation chosen to accommodate the 11 stars of this deluxe XI of the FIFA World Cup is 1-3-4-3. It is worth noting that it left out players such as Cristiano Ronaldo who, despite his undeniable elite level, has never been awarded, until before Qatar 2022, as the best, second best or third best player of an edition of this tournament.

Oliver Khan – Goalkeeper – Germany

A fierce competitor and undisputed leader of the Mannschaft. He was not able to win any edition of the FIFA World Cup, but his great performance in Korea-Japan 2002 earned him the Golden Ball award, despite making a crass mistake in the Final against Brazil.

Lilian Thuram – Defender – France

He played three editions of the FIFA World Cup and won one, his debut in France 1998, where he won the Bronze Ball award. A strong defender, with speed, physical presence and attacking qualities. He shined in teams like Juventus and Barcelona. He is the player with more games with the French national team.

Hung Myung Bo – Defender – Korea

Four FIFA World Cups played make him a true legend of his country. He was part of the squad that, coached by Guus Hiddink and supported by his fans, finished fourth in the 2002 edition. So far the only Asian to win an individual award in this tournament (Bronze Ball, Korea-Japan 2002).

Fabio Cannavaro – Defender – Italy

He played in four editions of the World Cup, but undoubtedly, his zenith in this great stage came in Germany 2006, where he took Paolo Maldini’s place as leader of the defense to lead his nation to conquer its fourth world championship. He won the Silver Ball award in that edition.

Lothar Matthaus – Midfielder – Germany 

One of the greatest legends of world soccer. The first player of the modern era to play in 5 editions of the World Cup and the second to do so after Mexican goalkeeper Antonio Tota Carbajal. He won this tournament in 1990 and was recognized with the Silver Ball award.

Luka Modric – Midfielder – Croatia

A true artist of the field. Absolute legend in the UEFA Champions League but also with the Croatia National Team, as he led it to its best performance in the FIFA World Cups: runner-up in Russia 2018, where he was recognized as the best player of the tournament.

Andrea Pirlo – Midfielder – Italy

The Maestro was part of the historic Italian squad that was crowned world champion at the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. His exquisite ball striking, reading of the game and honorability made him win the Bronze Ball award of that tournament. He played in two other editions, in 2010 and 2014.

Zinedine Zidane – Midfielder – France

The elegance made soccer. Owner of one of the best individual techniques in the history of this sport. He was able to achieve what Michel Platini could not in his time: lead France to win the World Cup, in the 1998 edition. Incredibly, he did not win any individual award at that time, something he did achieve in Germany 2006 (Golden Ball), where he was sent off in the Final against Italy for an aggression against Marco Materazzi.

Lionel Messi – Foward – Argentina

For many the best footballer in history. He has a pending debt and that is to win the World Cup. He had a bitter experience in Brazil 2014, when Argentina lost the final of the tournament against Germany, although he won the Golden Ball award. He will join the select group of players with five editions played if he participates in Qatar 2022.

Ronaldo Nazario – Forward – Brazil

Explosiveness, dribbling and lethal definition characterized the Brazilian star’s career. He had the joy of winning two editions of the FIFA World Cup (1994 and 2002) and the misfortune of losing the 1998 final. He was the top scorer in the history of the tournament for 8 years until Miroslav Klose overtook him in 2014. He won the Golden Ball in France and the Silver Ball in Korea-Japan.

Diego Maradona – Forward – Argentina

The most magical left foot in the history of the FIFA World Cup. He earned his place in the history of the sport with the heroic feat he achieved in Mexico 1986, when he led Argentina to its second world championship. He won the Golden Ball in 1986 and the Bronze Ball in 1990, an edition in which he lost the final to Germany.

 

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