First awarded in 1986, the Golden Ball is given to the best player at the World Cup. The winner is voted by media representatives from a shortlist drawn up by the FIFA technical committee. Lately, the World Cup Golden Ball odds have attracted increasing interest. You can bet on a player to receive the award straight-up or combine it with other markets, such as the World Cup winner or Top Goalscorer.
We will look at all the top names and evaluate their prices. Is it better to back favorites such as Messi and Neymar or look for dark horses like Foden and Griezman? Before going into further detail, here is a list of the bookmakers with the Golden Ball World Cup odds.
Current World Cup Golden Ball Odds
Many factors influence who wins the Golden Ball. These include their club and country form in the months preceding the tournament, alongside the international team’s roster. All of these factors impact the odds of the award before the tournament starts. Once it begins, the Golden Ball World Cup odds will fluctuate depending on how well the teams perform. Below, you can see the prices of the most notable names.
|Lionel Messi||9.00 (8/1)|
|Kylian Mbappe||13.00 (12/1)|
|Karim Benzema||13.00 (12/1)|
|Kevin De Bruyne||15.00 (14/1)|
|Harry Kane||15.00 (14/1)|
|Vinicius Junior||17.00 (16/1)|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||21.00 (20/1)|
|Phil Foden||41.00 (40/1)|
|De Andrade Richarlison||51.00 (50/1)|
Latest odds on World Cup golden ball favourites
Going deep into the competition is key, and so is the position of the player. If history has taught us anything is that goalkeepers and defenders are overlooked. This is why you should back midfielders and forwards. The Golden Ball World Cup odds are based on the assessment of those factors by the bookmakers and the amount of money being wagered by punters on individual players. Here are some World Cup betting tips on the leading contenders.
Messi was a controversial winner of the Golden Ball in 2014. Eight years later, this could be his last chance to win the trophy. Though Messi is 35, his chances of winning the Golden Ball and Argentina the World Cup are realistic. Argentina is second in the World Cup betting after Brazil but beat them in the final of the 2021 Copa America. Messi was the joint top scorer in that tournament and won the best player award. With him now playing much better for PSG and scoring ten goals for Argentina in six games this year, he’s a worthy favorite in the Golden Ball World Cup odds.
The joint second favorite, was a World Cup winner with France in 2018. Mbappe scored four goals in that tournament and was named the best young player. However, he did not feature in the top three in the Golden Ball voting. With Mbappe scoring 19 goals in 20 games for PSG this season, he is in fine form. The same can’t be said of France, though. It’s, therefore, doubtful that he will prove to be a worthy World Cup Golden Ball bet. France has only won one of its last six games.
As arguably the best player of the tournament favorites, it’s little wonder that Neymar is tied in the betting with his PSG colleague Mbappe. Like the Frenchman and the favorite in the FIFA World Cup golden ball odds, Messi, Neymar has been in good form for PSG. He’s scored 15 goals in 20 games, alongside five in as many games in 2022 for Brazil. In the 2014 World Cup, Neymar scored four goals but underperformed in the last tournament in 2018, where he only scored twice. Ultimately, Neymar looks like a better bet than Mbappe, but he’s ranked behind Messi for a reason.
Another French player to be among the main contenders is Benzema. The Real Madrid striker is the current holder of the Ballon d’Or after leading his team to win both La Liga and the Champions League, with 44 goals in 46 games. The 34-year-old Benzema has struggled for fitness this term and only has six goals in twelve appearances for his club. Since returning to play for France in 2021, Benzema has scored ten goals in 16 games. Fourth in the Golden Ball odds World Cup rankings, his fitness and the form of France are significant worries.
The England captain, has scored twelve Premier League goals from 15 games for Tottenham and looks set to have one of his best-ever seasons for his club. At the international level, Kane has 51 goals in 75 games, meaning he only needs three more to overtake Wayne Rooney and become England’s record scorer. He was the top scorer in 2018 with six goals and would have to do something similar to prove why he’s amongst the World Cup Golden Ball favourites. With three goals in eight appearances for a struggling England side, that doesn’t look likely. England has a good record at recent tournaments, but the last four look beyond them this time.
Worthy World Cup golden ball outsiders
Outside the favorites, there are some outsiders to consider. The Golden Ball odds World Cup rating pre-tournament are not always accurate, with eventual winners such as Diego Forlan and Luka Modric being overlooked by bookmakers in recent tournaments. Here are some alternative players to consider. Since these are long shots, it’s best to use World Cup betting offers when backing them.
Ronaldo has only scored three goals for Manchester United this season. Of his record 117 goals at an international level, only two have come in 2022, from seven appearances for Portugal. At 37, Ronaldo is still a fearsome finisher but isn’t very mobile. Across four World Cups, Ronaldo has scored a total of seven goals. He’ll probably add to that number, but it’s hard to see either he or Portugal performing well enough to really trouble the World Cup Golden Ball favourites.
When France won the World Cup in 2018, Griezmann was named the third-best player in the tournament, winning the Bronze Ball. He scored four goals in Russia and was the top scorer at Euro 2016, where he was named player of the tournament. Priced as high as 41.00 (40/1) in the Golden Ball World Cup odds at some bookmakers, it could make more sense to back a player that has made a habit of performing well at tournaments over his compatriots Mbappe and Benzema.
Lukaku has one of the best goalscoring records in international football, with 68 goals in 102 games for Belgium. Yet he’s only played once for his country in 2022 and has just two goals in five appearances this season since returning to Inter on loan. In the 2018 World Cup, he scored four goals and with Canada and Morocco in Belgium’s group, the opportunity is there to score more, but only if he is fit. At 51.00 (50/1), he could be worth a World Cup Golden Ball bet but wait for news of his fitness.
Previous World Cup Golden Ball Winners
The Golden Ball has been won by some of the greatest players to have played the game, such as Maradona, Ronaldo and Messi. Yet if you’re looking to make a World Cup Golden ball bet on an outsider, it’s also been won by Salvatore Schillaci in 1990, who wasn’t even in Italy’s team at the start of the tournament and Oliver Kahn, who is the only goalkeeper to have won. Here are the winners of the last five contests.
|World Cup||Golden Ball Winner|
|2018 - Russia||9.00 (8/1)|
|2014 - Brazil||12.00 (11/1)|
|2010 - South Africa||13.00 (12/1)|
|2006 - Germany||13.00 (12/1)|
|2002 - South Korea/Japan||15.00 (14/1)|
Best World Cup golden ball betting sites
Some 2022 World Cup bookmakers will cover the tournament in more depth than others. Not all bookies will offer Golden Ball odds World Cup betting, but our recommended ones will. When we pick the best 2022 World Cup bookmakers, we are looking for those with competitive odds, the depth of their tournament betting markets and whether they have features such as live streaming. Here are our recommendations.
The ability to Cash Out will be available when betting on the Golden Ball at some bookies. It’s best to check the terms and conditions of the market. Being able to cash out means you can back outsiders at high prices and profit if their odds reduce.
Lionel Messi is the favorite to win the Golden Ball. He won the 2014 World Cup award and was named the best player in the tournament in 2021 when Argentina won the Copa America. Argentina is the second favorite to win this World Cup.
Though goalkeepers have their own award at the World Cup in the form of the Golden Glove, they are also eligible to win the Golden Ball. The German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn won the Golden Ball in 2002, while his compatriot Harald Schumacher finished second in 1986, winning the Silver Ball.
The Golden Ball is awarded to the best player of the World Cup after the final has finished, with the trophy being given to the player on the pitch after the game. It’s been won by a player from the losing finalists in five of the last six tournaments.
There can only be one World Cup Golden Ball winner, with the Silver Ball being given to the runner-up and the Bronze Ball to the player in third place. There is sometimes confusion between the Golden Ball award for the World Cup’s best player and the Ballon d’Or, awarded to the best player each year.
Luka Modric won the Golden Ball award for his performances at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Before the tournament, he was widely available at 66/1 (67.0). Modric’s Croatia side was not expected to excel at the tournament but reached the final, losing 4-2 to France.
Three nations have produced two Golden Ball award winners. Argentina’s Diego Maradona won in 1986, while Lionel Messi won in 2014. Brazil had Romario win the award in 1994 and then Ronaldo in 1998. Italy had the first award winner in 1982 with Paolo Rossi before Salvatore Schillaci won in 1990.
While the Golden Ball award is given to the best player at a World Cup, the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot is awarded to the top goalscorer. Only two players have won the two awards in the same tournament. Italy’s Paolo Rossi won both in 1982 and his compatriot Salvatore Schillaci did the same in 1990.