World Cup 2018 best player betting

World Cup player markets are not solely about the front men who knock in the goals. There is also an award, the adidas Golden Ball, for the player adjudged the overall best of the tournament.

Of course, this award is subjective, so betting on the outcome could lead to heartbreak if you feel the player you have backed has been harshly judged. Or maybe you will feel lucky that your player has won the accolade.

But a glance at recent winners – Lionel Messi (2014), Diego Forlan (2010), Zinedine Zidane (2006), Oliver Khan (2002) and Brazil superstars Ronaldo (1998) and Romario (1994) – is reassuring that the cream generally rises to the top.

Representatives of the media vote on the overall winner from a shortlist drawn up by the FIFA technical committee. The players voted second and third best receive the Silver and Bronze balls respectively.

Tips for finding adidas Golden Ball winner at 2018 World Cup

  1. The winner will likely come from one of the favoured teams

    A glance at the accompanying table will tell you that the Golden Ball winners have all come from the dominant countries at the World Cup. So, in this contest maybe it’s of little use being a superstar in a team that’s not going to make the second round. There is every chance the winner will come from the one of the four semi-final teams.

  2. Look for a playmaker who can also score

    You will need someone who spends plenty of time on the ball (or enough at least to attract plenty of attention from the judges) but can also get forward to chip in with a goal or two. Someone who sets up goals as well as scores them. Simple.

  3. Back a player from the teams who may make surprise runs to the semi-finals

    When a team causes a shock here and there and becomes the toast of the tournament, everyone wants to know all about them. This surge of interest can put the star player of said team firmly in the spotlight.

Year Host Golden ball Silver ball Bronze ball
2018 Russia Luka Modric (Croatia) Eden Hazard (Belgium) Antoine Griezmann (France)
2014 Brazil Lionel Messi (Argentina) Thomas Müller (Germany) Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
2010 South Africa Diego Forlán (Uruguay) Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands) David Villa (Spain)
2006 Germany Zinedine Zidane (France) Fabio Cannavaro (Italy) Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
2002 Korea/Japan Oliver Kahn (Germany) Ronaldo (Brazil) Hong Myung-bo (South Korea)
1998 France Ronaldo (Brazil) Davor Šuker (Croatia) Lilian Thuram (France)
1994 United States Romário (Brazil) Roberto Baggio (Italy) Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
1990 Italy Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) Lothar Matthäus (West Germany) Diego Maradona (Argentina)
1986 Mexico Diego Maradona (Argentina) Harald Schumacher (West Germany) Preben Elkjær Larsen (Denmark)
1982 Spain Paolo Rossi (Italy) Falcão (Brazil) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (West Germany)

Note: Before 1982, a best player was named at FIFA World Cups but the award was not known as the Golden Ball. The winners were as follows:

1930: Jose Nasazzi (Uruguay, defender)
1934: Giuseppe Meazza (Italy, striker)
1938: Leonidas Da Silva (Brazil, striker)
1950: Zizinho (Brazil, midfielder)
1954: Ferenc Puskás (Hungary, striker)
1958: Didi (Brazil, midfielder)
1962: Garrincha (Brazil, winger)
1966: Bobby Charlton (England, midfielder)
1970: Pelé (Brazil, striker)
1974: Johan Cruyff (Netherlands, midfielder/striker)
1978: Marion Kempes (Argentina, striker).

Leading chances to be judged best player in Russia

Junior Neymar (Brazil)
What we say: Emerged from the famed Santos club that produced Pele and has a lot in common with that legend. His 2014 World Cup ended in disaster as he suffered broken vertebrae in the quarter-finals. At the peak of his powers now.
Odds: $8

Lionel Messi (Argentina)
What we say:
This little master is surely entering his final World Cup. He’s won everything there is to win on an individual level, including this award four year ago. Who’s to say he won’t do it again and lead his team all the way?
Odds: $10

Antoine Griezmann (France)
What we say:
The player Messi wants Barcelona to sign from Spanish club Atletica Madrid and it’s easy to see why. Player of the tournament and top goal-scorer at Euro 2016, so is at home on the big stage.
Odds: $13

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
What we say:
Part of Belgium’s golden generation and his hopes will hinge on the team living up to the tag and going deep into the tournament. Enough wins will determine just how well the Manchester City star scores.
Odds: $17

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
What we say:
Along with Messi, the greatest players of the generation. He will be given licence to roam and this could be his last hurrah on the biggest stage. Why not?
Odds: $21

David Silva (Spain)
What we say:
The silky midfielder has had an interrupted preparation but will be pulling the strings for one of the genuine powerhouses of the tournament.
Odds: $21

Eden Hazard (Belgium)
What we say:
The Belgian captain has said the time is now for his star-studded team. No more excuses. But the time for talking is over. Bring on the action.
Odds: $21

Kylian Mbappé Lottin (France)
What we say:
The teen superstar of a quality French line-up. Has played alongside Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain. This could be his coming-out party.
Odds: $21