Luka Modric and Lionel Messi in all 10 winners of World Cup Golden Ball

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Croatia captain and Real Madrid star Luka Modric will travel to Qatar looking to become the first Ballon d’Or winner to retain the award which was first presented at the 1982 World Cup.

FIFA has recognized the best player in each of the last 10 tournaments, but the title has never been retained. There has never been a second Ballon d’Or winner. Although only Argentina, Brazil and Italy can boast two separate recipients of the gong.

The FIFA technical committee decides which players deserve to win the Ballon d’Or at each World Cup. A vote among members of the media will decide who will receive the award, with the Silver and Bronze Balls for the second and third best performers.

Photo by David Ramos – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

A set of big-name stars have won the second and third prize for their performances in the last 10 tournaments. Lothar Matthaus was runner-up for Italy 90, Fabio Cannavaro was runner-up for Germany in 2006 and Thomas Muller was runner-up in 2014.

Lilian Thuram, on the other hand, took home the bronze medal at the World Cup in France 1998. Andrea Pirlo followed his compatriot Cannavaro in 2006 when Italy won the tournament. in their fourth title. Although David Villa was a winner in Spain’s 2010 victory, they finished third.

In fact, in 1982, 1986 and 1994 the Ballon d’Or winner came from the country that also won the World Cup that year. The second team honored the best stars in the 1998, 2002, 2006, 2014 and 2018 editions, and the third team in 1990.

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa saw the Ballon d’Or winner from the country finish fourth. So, who are the seven players who have won the Ballon d’Or award across the last 10 World Cups before Qatar 2022?

Paolo Rossi won the first Ballon d’Or when Italy won the World Cup title in 1982

FIFA awarded the first Ballon d’Or to Paolo Rossi in Spain in 1982 after the striker helped Italy win the third of what are now four World Cups. The rider born in Prato lit up the competition to end the summer as the top scorer with six goals in his seven appearances that season.

Rossi didn’t score his first point until the last tie of the second group stage. However, the match-winning hat-trick to beat Brazil 3-2 came from behind twice. He found the net twice to beat Poland 2-0 in the fourth round, before beating Germany 3-1.

Diego Maradona won the Ballon d’Or and the World Cup with Argentina in 1986

Diego Maradona helped inspire Argentina to a second World Cup title in the 1986 tournament in Mexico. The match will be the second of the striker’s four appearances, and will also mark the first time he has won La Albiceleste’s captain’s armband.

The Lanus-born creator is more than comfortable with the responsibilities of leading a nation at the World Cup. He found the net five times and provided five assists in seven games – playing every minute – including scoring a winner to beat Germany 3-2 in the final .

Please read photo credit DANIEL GARCIA/AFP via Getty Images

Italy is the first country with two Ballon d’Or winners by Salvatore Schillaci

Italy became the first nation to celebrate two Ballon d’Or winners in 1990 when Salvatore Schillaci brought the World Cup to earth. But the Azzurri managed to finish third as Germany beat Argentina in the final, to seal the third of four crowns to date.

It was Schillaci who did the job himself, though, scoring six goals to win the Ballon d’Or. The midfielder – who played in the only World Cup of his career – found the net in all but one tie. He also assisted on a goal to beat England in the third round.

Romario was Brazil’s first Ballon d’Or winner at the 1994 World Cup

Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times, but did not see one of their players win the Ballon d’Or until Romario in 1994. The midfielder beat Roberto Baggio and Hristo Stoichkov – the first goal scorer (6) and Oleg Salenko – for the most individual honor.

Romario emerged as the best player in the United States after being instrumental in Brazil winning their fourth World Cup. The 71-cap forward from Rio de Janeiro won his only World Cup title with five goals and three assists in seven appearances and played every minute.

His performances helped the Selecao beat Russia and Cameroon while drawing with Sweden in the group stage. Romario’s assist sealed their last-16 tie against the United States, before he scored big goals in the quarter-finals against Holland and the semi-finals against Sweden.

Ronaldo returned to Brazil with honors in 1998

Ronaldo Nazario returned the Ballon d’Or to Brazil after taking the individual honor in 1998. The Selecao failed to defend their crown after losing to France – a winner first, while playing at home – in the final, but the competition. previous exposure.

The Rio de Janeiro native put behind him sitting on the bench in every game at the ’94 World Cup to play every second in 1998. Ronaldo also scored four goals in four and three assists in his seven games. But he was not able to make one with France in Paris.

Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images

German champion Oliver Kahn won the country’s first gong in 2002

Germany didn’t win the Ballon d’Or until Oliver Kahn in 2002, after an impressive performance at the World Cup in South Korea and Japan. He also denied Ronaldo back-to-back titles and the Brazil star finished second on the list, ahead of South Korea’s Hong Myung-bo.

In addition, Kahn became the first goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or, captaining Die Mannschaft to the final with five clean sheets. The Republic of Ireland could only beat the eight-time Bundesliga champions, before Brazil struck twice to win the final 2-0.

Zinedine Zidane won the 2006 Ballon d’Or despite the end of the World Cup

Zinedine Zidane won the Ballon d’Or at the World Cup in Germany in 2006, despite France’s elimination from the tournament. The Marseille-born star captained Les Bleus throughout the tournament, but saw red in the final before Italy won on penalties.

Goals and bookings did not elude Zidane as he missed the last group game after two yellow cards. But he marked his return from the knockout stage with a goal and an assist against Spain, which helped them beat Brazil 1-0 and then scored to eliminate Portugal 1-0.

Another goal followed for Zidane just seven minutes into the final when he slotted home. However Marco Materazzi was equal and after a header from Zidane in extra time saw referee Horacio Elizondo red carded.

Diego Forlan is the only Ballon d’Or winner to be out of the World Cup

Diego Forlan is the first, but only, recipient of the Ballon d’Or who played for a country that finished outside the top three at the World Cup. His Uruguay team made it all the way to the finals in 2010, but lost to the Netherlands and then to Germany.

The midfielder won the Ballon d’Or, though, after ending the World Cup as one of four players with five goals to share the Golden Cap. Three of Forlan’s strikes came from shots taken from outside the box – including the Goal of the Tournament.

Photo credit should read JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images

Lionel Messi led Argentina to second place at the 2014 World Cup for the Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi carried Argentina on his back to second place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to receive the Ballon d’Or. There was a lot of public pressure on the forward’s shoulders in every game, but he managed to pull off the results that La Albiceleste failed to achieve.

Argentina might not have made it out of Group F without Messi. He scored to beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1, Iran 1-0 and braced to beat Nigeria 3-2. The 35-year-old provided an assist to beat Switzerland 1-0 in the last 16, as they captained them to the final.

Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or as Croatia finished second in 2018

Modric won the new Ballon d’Or after leading Croatia to the final at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Real Madrid forward will captain his country in Qatar at the end of the season, knowing that at the age of 37 it will be the last time he wins a FIFA tournament.

The 152-cap Vatreni striker started all seven of Croatia’s matches in Russia – only coming on for the last half-hour of their final group game. He also scored one more goal in Group D ties with Nigeria and Argentina, while helping Russia in the quarter-finals.

France defeated Croatia 4-2 to reach the final, but Modric left the 2018 World Cup with the Golden Ball award. He was able to win the first two times he was awarded with another strong performance from the 22nd edition of the FIFA tournament in Qatar.

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