Wednesday, December 7, 2022

FIFA World Cup: Who Won the First Golden Ball?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

The FIFA World Cup is set to return in Qatar later this year with top players from 32 of the best nations in world football battling it out to find out who comes out on top as the reigning world champions.

To celebrate the return of the famous competition, let’s take a look at who won the FIFA World Cup’s first-ever golden ball award.

What Is FIFA’s Golden Ball Award?

The best player at each FIFA World Cup finals is named the recipient of the Golden Ball award. FIFA’s technical committee (Technical Study Group) usually draws up the shortlist with the winner being selected by various representatives of the media. The second-best player in each World Cup finals gets awarded the Silver Ball and the third-best player earns the Bronze Ball award.

FIFA officially began to give the Golden Ball award for the first time in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, which was sponsored by Adidas and France Football.

FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup’s First Unofficial Golden Ball Winner

José Nasazzi was the recipient of the FIFA World Cup’s first unofficial golden ball award for his incredible contributions to the tournament back in 1930, according to the book, ‘World Cup (1930-2010): The first unofficial Golden Ball was won by Jose Nasazzi representing Uruguay.

Here is a full list of other unofficial winners, according to the same book.

The Best Players From The “World Cup (1930-2010): A Statistical Summary” Book
World Cup  Winner Runner-up Third place
1930 Uruguay Uruguay José Nasazzi Argentina Guillermo Stábile Uruguay José Leandro Andrade
1934 Italy Italy Giuseppe Meazza Austria Matthias Sindelar Czechoslovakia Oldrich Nejedly
1938 France Brazil Leonidas da Silva Italy Silvio Piola Hungary György Sárosi
1950 Brazil Brazil Zizinho Uruguay Juan Alberto Schiaffino Uruguay Obdulio Varela
1954 Switzerland Hungary Ferenc Puskas Hungary Sandor Kocsis Germany Fritz Walter
1958 Sweden Brazil Didí Brazil Pelé France Just Fontaine
1962 Chile Brazil Garrincha Czechoslovakia Josef Masopust Chile Leonel Sánchez
1966 England England Bobby Charlton England Bobby Moore Portugal Eusébio
1970 México Brazil Pelé Brazil Gérson Germany Gerd Müller
1974 West Germany Netherlands Johan Cruyff Germany Franz Beckenbauer Poland Kazimierz Deyna

FIFA World Cup’s First Official Golden Ball Winner

Paulo Rossi won the FIFA World Cup’s first official golden ball award back in 1982 when the prestigious tournament took place in Spain. Paolo Rossi of Italy won the first official golden ball award in the World Cup held in Spain in 1982 with Falcao from Brazil finishing second.

The following list includes the other recipients of the famous award.

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


Golden Ball Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the FIFA World Cup along with the Golden Boot and Golden Gloves. Luka Modric, the Real Madrid star who represented Croatia in the 2018 World Cup won the Golden Ball in the edition played in Russia with Messi winning the one in 2014.

Who according to you will win the Golden Ball in 2022?

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