Lionel Messi (10/1) and Kylian Mbappe (10/1) lead the market to win the Golden Ball at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The first Golden Ball award was claimed by Paolo Rossi when Italy won the 1982 World Cup in Spain, and a further nine players have won the accolade for the best player at the competition.

Croatia midfielder Luka Modric scooped the prize at the 2018 edition in Russia, showing that your nation doesn’t need to win the tournament.

Only three times has a player from the winning nation gone on to be awarded the Golden Ball – Rossi, Diego Maradona and Romario.

Messi looking to make history

No player has won the Golden Ball on two occasions but Messi could add another record to his collection in Qatar.

Argentina (11/2 World Cup outright) are among the favourites to go all the way and Messi is expected to play a major role in any success they may have.

Prior to lifting the Copa America with Argentina in 2021, Messi had never laid his hands on international silverware and that triumph suggests the Albiceleste could challenge for the World Cup.

Messi has been in fine form for Paris Saint-Germain this term, scoring 12 goals in 18 appearances across all competitions.

The 35-year-old registered seven times in 15 appearances during Argentina’s World Cup qualifying campaign and has 16 goals in his last 18 outings for the South American giants.

He was the joint top-scorer at last year’s Copa America and was subsequently named player of the tournament.

Argentina have a hugely talented squad heading to Qatar but it’s clear that they will be relying heavily on Messi to lead them to potential glory.

World Cup Odds

Mbappe hoping to star for defending champions

Retaining the World Cup is extremely difficult, just two nations have managed to successfully defend their crown – Italy in 1938 and Brazil in 1962.

France, who won the competition in 2018, will look to join that unique club when they head to Qatar.

Mbappe (10/1 Golden Ball) netted four goals to help Les Bleu to glory but he wasn’t in the running for the Golden Ball, which was won by Modric after he helped Croatia enjoy a surprise run to the final.

Belgium’s Eden Hazard received the Silver Ball and France forward Antoine Griezmann won the Bronze Ball.

Like Messi, Mbappe has been starring for PSG this season and he boasts 19 goals in 20 appearances across all competitions.

No shortage of options for favourites Brazil

Brazil are 4/1 favourites to win the World Cup and they have several potential Golden Ball candidates in their ranks.

Neymar (11/1) and Vinicius Junior (20/1) are Brazil’s leading candidates while Gabriel Jesus (40/1), Raphinha (40/1) and Richarlison (40/1) will also be hoping to stamp their mark on the competition.

PSG’s Neymar has a point to prove at this World Cup after falling short for Brazil in the past and that could spur him on to glory.

Of the Selecao’s other candidates, Richarlison offers huge value after playing a major role in their stunning qualification campaign.

Only Neymar (8) scored more goals than Richarlison (6) for Brazil as they avoided defeat during their 17 qualifying fixtures.

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