Who should win the Golden Ball?


Photo by ISIphotos.com

FIFA announced its 10 finalists for the World Cup's Golden Ball Award Friday, with Spain garnering three of the nominees.

David Villa, Xavi and Andres Iniesta are joined by Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Diego Forlan, Asamoah Gyan and Lionel Messi on the final ballot.

Villa and Sneijder lead the tournament with five goals apiece and are front-runners for the Golden Boot, although Forlan, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller could surpass them with multiple-goal outputs in the third-place match.

Mueller is among the three finalists for the Best Young Player award along with Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos and Ghana's Andre Ayew.

Who do you think should win the Golden Ball? Do you think anybody was snubbed from the list of finalists for either award?

Share your thoughts below.

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75 Responses to Who should win the Golden Ball?

  1. ahm says:

    uhhh asamoah gyan? he makes two penalties, misses the biggest, and puts in one goal and he’s a top 10 tournament player? that’s a joke

  2. Jake Oliver says:

    I think, depending on Sunday’s match, the Golden Ball winner will be either Villa or Sneijder. However, I think the best player in this tournament has been Bastian Schweinsteiger.

  3. GO USA says:

    Diego Forlan no doubt. He carried the team on his back and led them further than anybody expected. He can score from set pieces or from the run of play and is also unselfish. Forlan was instrumental in Uruguay’s success, more so than any of the other players for their respective teams IMO.

  4. Sean says:

    Sneijder and Muller for me.

  5. Dan says:

    Muller for best young player definitely. It’s a toss up between Robben and Schweinsteiger for me. They were two of the best ball handlers I saw all tournament. Followed closely by Forlan.

  6. GO USA says:

    Man I wish Michael Bradley was young enough to be on the list for Best Young Player because he was a boss in the midfield. I think he totally would have a good chance at getting the award or at least coming up short to Mueller who should win it.
    Too bad Jozy didn’t score because he would have been on the list. Even though he didn’t put one in the net he had a good tournament, at times he was dominant. Damn I wish he would have scored because he was knocking on the door a couple of times.

  7. Ian says:

    Sneijder and Mueller.

    Mueller is a lock for young player. Sneijder as long as he doesn’t disappear in the final.

  8. chris says:

    ewww Robben? why doesnt he go lose the ball again trying to put in on his left foot.

  9. war says:

    Hate to say it, but I think Messi is on for the sake of being Messi. I say Sneijder.

  10. The Dude says:

    Everyone on the list played in the semi-finals except for Messi and Gyan. Both had a strong tournament, but so did plenty of other guys. Messi is in because he’s Messi, and Gyan is in because he’s African.

  11. John says:

    Sneijder wins it though Robben, Villa, Klose and Schweinsteiger would not be bad choices.
    @ahm: I agree totally with your comment regarding Gyan’s inclusion. This is an example of home town bias. There was a need to include at least an African in the list and Gyan was the best of the mediocre group. If the same criteria was used (if there is one) in picking the finalists for the Golden Ball, then Donovan or Bradley would have been equally reasonable choices. I am not saying they should be in the list (actually, they should not) but if Gyan is there, then Donovan or Bradley should be there as well.

  12. malkin says:

    Lionel who?

  13. Mike says:

    id have to say either forlan or bastian, as both were central in the success their respective teams garnered. any of these players can have a case made for them of course other than messi, but as well as villa has player he has not been the most important to his team, rather iniesta or xavi. Id say forlan at the end of the day because game in and out he was a threat, scoring the most goals outside of the 18 in the history of the cup (or tying the record) and constantly scoring when uruguay was down a goal. Also let us remember that he was probably the only player in the tournament able to tame the jubalani, putting countless set pieces on net and scoring on 2 i believe.

  14. Bill W. says:

    Sneijder, folowed by Forlan

  15. Aaron in StL says:

    Forlan definitely did the most single-handedly. The only reason they had a prayer vs. the Netherlands was because of him.

    Man, if we beat Ghana I bet Donovan is on there instead of Gyan. That’s the way it goes I guess.

  16. mwc says:

    Agreed. You cannot be the best player in the tournament with that resume. I’d vote for Forlan.

  17. Dan says:

    Xavi, decidedly.

  18. Kevin says:

    I would definitely pick Forlan. But where’s the love for Villa? The guy has scored all but two of Spain’s goals, some of which were very, very clutch.

  19. David says:

    I’d like to see Forlan win it but it will either go to Villa or Sneijder depending on who wins the tournament. Those are the 3 stars of the tournament to me. I think Forlan is the classiest of the 3 and exceeded more expectations individually and with his team than the other 2 but ultimately do you give the Golden Ball to a guy on the 3rd or 4th place team, not usually.

  20. cody says:

    I would say Forlan. He carried his team all the way to the semi finals. He made some huge plays. I think that muller is a lock for the young player award. Had he gotten to play against spain I think we would have seen his name on the golden ball award list.

  21. war says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better.

  22. DL says:

    Forlan has been the most influential player and has shown great skill. Mueller is a clear winner. Not really close IMO.

  23. Erik says:

    Agreed as well but as you know FIFA is as politically correct as they come. It’s why the refs have sucked so bad… Saudi Arabia? Kazakhstan? Mali?

    And did Messi really do ANYTHING to deserve to be on that list?

    Forlan is my winner.

  24. Kris (Stuttgart!) says:


    Sneijder and Müller for me. Villa deserves it though if he scores more than Wesley in the final, particularly the game winner.

  25. Erik says:


    I see how this list is heavily favoring Forlan. Which means FIFA will pick Messi or Gyan.

  26. jig says:

    koman coulibaly?

  27. DC Josh says:

    Xavi if Spain win. Sneijder if Holland win. Obviously if Robben has a brace or Villa nets a hat trick they could easily grab the Golden Balls (sorry Beckham).

    Muller is the young player of the tournament without hesitation. He is going to be an amazing player for the next decade.

    Forlan could win, but it has to go to a player on the winning team. Ultimately, winning a World Cup garners more respect than playing a good tournament.

    And I don’t understand the hate for Gyan. He is an amazing player and was secluded all tournament by himself. He was Ghana’s best player, Ayew close second.

  28. SeattleStan says:

    It’s a shame that Rico Clark didn’t make this list. He was absolutely essential for both England and Ghana.

  29. ahm says:

    wouldn’t complain if it was sneijder, forlan, or villa

  30. kar says:

    Always suprised at the lack of love for Xavi. In my mind his only competition for Golden Ball is his marginally less consistent partner Iniesta. I mean no disrespect to Forlan, Sneijder, or Schweinsteiger; all of whom are having great tournaments; but no one is doing as much for his team as Xavi.

    Maybe it because he makes the sublime look easy and only creates the chances?

    Now, do I expect him to win? Nope, I’m guessing he will be overlooked again in the bright lights of goal scorers and players exerting more effort to cover for thier lack of anticipation.

  31. Beandog says:

    Robert Vittek?

  32. In Gyan’s defense, he scored the goal that beat Serbia, the goal that salvaged a point against Australia, and the goal that won a round of sixteen game against the favored United States. He wasn’t one of the tournament’s ten best, but he isn’t a ridiculous inclusion, and he had the biggest impact on the tournament of any African player. And it’s not like he took a spot away from someone that could have won.

    The bigger head-scratcher is Messi.

  33. jonathan says:

    At times Josy was dominant?? Are you insane? Watch Forlan in the last 20min of the first half against netherlands that was domination. Watch Drogba for Chelsea in the last game of the premier last season- that was domination. Watch iniesta command the midfield and make space where he sees fit- that is domination. To say that at times Josy was dominant is like saying at time Ives objectively evaluates Bob Bradley’s coaching talent.

  34. SP says:

    robben missed two of the matches and didn’t pass the ball in the ones he played in

  35. Aguinaga says:

    To me, in any sport, it’ll always be about the humble guys who shine by thru their play, making everyone around them championship quality better. Doubly so if they go about it in such a quiet way that you hardly notice. The Anti-Ronaldos. In that respect, Xavi gets my vote, without exception, with Forlan trailing. If you go by the media and the public comments, people are just starting to realize Xavi not only is the best player in this tourney, but in the World. Would Messi be as strong an argument without Xavi’s genius? Seems only way he’d be better rated is if he rolled up to Joburg on Sunday in a Lambo and gold fronts. Presently, the world likes flash, speed, stepovers, and goals. Pizzazz! It generates all the $$$’s and #’s… “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist”. Xavi is soccer’s Kaiser Sose.

  36. John says:

    I agree that Gyan is a good player, both for Ghana and Rennes. But let’s be objective here, should he really be in the short list for the Golden Ball award? And continuing in this line of thought, I also think Messi shouldn’t be there as well. We are talking about the 10 players who have made a difference for their teams in this WC: Sneijder, Robben, Forlan, Schweinsteiger, etc… There is no hate for Gyan; I just think he is not one of the best 10 players in this WC.

  37. Dylan says:

    If anyone other than Forlan wins this is a joke. Guy did everything for that team.

  38. wilyboy says:

    It has to be Sneijder and Mueller. Villa might have scored practically all of Spain’s goals, but he was set up by Iniesta and Xavi; he’s a spectacular finisher, but that’s still a superficial method.

    Imagine, then, a Netherlands without Wesley Sneijder. Who was the only reason they pulled out a win against Japan, and even more astonishingly Brazil. He is carrying a team to the finals.

    Mueller goes without saying, Germany were missing him pretty bad in the semis. Credit to Spain for playing defense, but no way would the Germans have gone that quietly with him in the lineup.

  39. ec says:

    Can’t we wait until after the final?

    I would say Sneijder and Xavi are the leaders, but I think what happens in the final should matter, just a bit (sarcasm).

    Forlan and Schweinsteiger are best after that. Mueller is the snub, and I almost hope he doesn’t go off on Sat, I’ll be sick over his BS ban for the semi’s. Germany’s counter attack would have had an extra gear for sure.

  40. dbag says:

    Dos Santos scored how many goals. I may be biased but did he have as much as an impact as Altidore. Neither belong on the list but wow.

  41. GO USA says:

    um did you watch the Algeria game???

  42. No way My Left Foot gets a ball.
    Sneijder or Forlan are Gold and Silver, in either order, for me. I’d give Villa the bronze ball, and I’d give Michael Bradley the Brass Balls.

  43. GO USA says:

    or the second half of the Slovenia game?

  44. jon in florida says:

    Messi on the list???? Really??? He was a ghost most of the cup IIRC.

  45. Polish Wonder says:

    FIFA should also give awards for bets player on team not making 2nd round and best not making 3rd round.

  46. Kevin_amold says:

    I completely agree with your dos Santos assessment. Why on earth is he nominated?

  47. neill says:

    Mueller is a total, mortal lock for Best Young Player. I think Forlan should take the Golden Ball, since he was by far the most influential for his team (and probably could be out front for the Golden Boot as well had he taken more opportunities for himself rather than dumping them to Suazo). I could live with Schweinsteiger; Villa would be my third choice, over Sneijder.

  48. Raghu says:

    Forlan, best player on the worst team of the final four teams. And he really played big at big times. Really impressive tournament, especially for a play-in team.

    I’m probably a homer for this, but I also think Donovan deserves a place on the best 11.

  49. yr ridiculous you should be ashamed

    you dk wtf your talking about and obviously know NOTHING about soccer

    out of the 10 goals argentina made this cup, he probably assisted 9 of them

    people like you disgust me, ignorant idiot. goals isn’t everything dumbass.

  50. jess says:


  51. steve says:

    yes! messi!

  52. SeattleStan says:

    Angry texting lingo is fun, however, I still believe it comes in second to angry sexting lingo, at least that’s the word on the street.

  53. Judging Amy says:

    Agree with you on Rico’s shocker of a tourney (and I was one of the few that liked the guy pre-World Cup), but that first Ghana goal was atrocious all around. After Rico’s maddening giveaway DeMerit gives Kevin Prince tons of space and Timmy just honestly does not do well with a very stoppable shot.

  54. Judging Amy says:

    Man looking at it again on in the highlights, what is DeMerit doing backpedaling so much? Rico starts it all with his godawful giveaway but the D just does not react well.

  55. ahm says:

    ya those are fair points. i don’t think he had a poor tournament at all, i agree he had a good one. my opinion is just that if he played for sayyyyy slovakia instead of ghana he wouldn’t have been on the list. the african teams didn’t show well this tournament, it’s time for blatter to quit pretending.

  56. Francois says:

    The real head scratcher is Giovanni Dos Santos for young player of the tournament? Did he even score OR get an assist? I’m pretty sure he didn’t, there has got to be a better option than him.

  57. Francois says:


  58. Francois says:

    Obviously YOU know nothing about football. He virtually had no impact on the game most of the time, he had 3 assists, and that may be decent for a fringe or bench player, but he is arguably the best player in the world!! As the best player in the world, you must simply do better on such a huge stage.

  59. jjraines says:

    Why Sneijder? For getting lucky a few times with speculative balls? So overrated.

  60. PetedeLA says:

    Duh. Villa and Mueller. Maybe Forlan.

    I love Sneijder, but he got lucky (bad refereeing and horrific goal keeping) on two goals.

  61. JoeW says:

    1. I have no problem with Messi on that list. If you’re an American who knows little about soccer and just looks at brief highlight clips or how many goals someone scored, than Messi’s inclusion is a mistake. But if you keep in mind that he was the best player on probably the best attacking team in the tournament through the quarterfinals, looked good in every match, every team focused on defending him and he created chances, nah–I don’t have a problem with him on the list.

    2. In terms of impact, Gyan makes sense. As someone else pointed out–scored the winning or tying goal in 3 matches. And was probably the most irreplaceable player on a team that made the quarters.

    3. Altidore? Look, I’m a big USA fan, but here’s the deal–the USA went home for two primary reasons: continually giving up an early goal and failure of our frontline to finish. We got goals from midfielders. We showed offense talent. We shut teams down defensively at times. But we always put ourselves behind the eight ball every match (but Algeria) and then our forwards couldn’t finish. And Altidore played more than anyone else. Besides, Muller was not only the best young player but probably should have been considered one of the top 7-8 people for the Golden Ball. He scored or assisted on 2/3rds of Germany’s scores in this tournament.

    4. I’m a bit put out by all the Spanish candidates. Least we forget, Spain didn’t win all 3 of their matches in the group stage. They were impressive against Germany and acquired a lot of rep and street cred the past 2 years. But this tournament, I’d argue that Brazil, Germany, Argentina all played better soccer over a longer period of time. The only Spaniard I’d put on the list is Villa–b/c without them they would not have gotten out of their group, let alone advanced.

    5. For me, the Golden Ball goes to Diego Forlan. Scored goals, led the team, made a big difference on the field and his team played well. Very hard to argue with any of that.

  62. GO USA says:


  63. westcoaster says:

    Luis Suarez?

  64. Matt says:

    jeff agoos?

  65. Poop Saunders says:

    Gio was excellent in each of Mexico’s games, whether or not he scored.

    Sadly, I think Muller is as deserving as anyone, despite being locked into the young player category. Other guys who impressed, in no order and in addition to the obvious Forlan, Xavi, Schweiny and Sneijder, Robinho [though I loathe him], Bougherra, Quagliarella in 45 mins, Klose, Heitinga, Fabio Coentrao, Honda, and Kevin Prince Boateng.

  66. chill says:

    messi did not have a strong tournament. he had little impact on any of the games he played in, and did not score any goals. for me, messi was a total disappointment in this world cup and should be nowhere near the list.

  67. chill says:

    i think there’s all of this disappointment with gyan’s inclusion because of his penalty miss, but he has been one of the players with the largest impact on his team’s success. a goal in extra time of the round of 16, your team’s leading scorer and orchestrator of the attack certainly qualifies you to be in the top 10, especially if your team gets to the quarterfinals.

  68. chill says:

    sneijder is a good choice too. his goals beat both brazil and uruguay to put them in the final.

  69. JCC says:

    I disagree about Messi not having an impact in this tournament. Almost all of Argentina’s goals came from a play that he was directly involved. He was probably the best player in the tournament that didn’t score a goal. The only game he was a non-factor in was against Germany. Gyan was the best African player in the tournament as well. I see no problems with any of the choices.

  70. JCC says:

    Are you nuts? Did you see any of the first round games? Messi was Argentina’s best player in all three games. Higuain pretty much scored off of Messi’s shot rebounds almost every time, same with Palermo against Greece. People that are saying he had zero impact don’t know anything about soccer.

  71. jred says:

    forlan all the way!!

  72. Joamiq says:

    Oezil should have been up for best young player.