2010 FIFA World Cup Awards: The Golden Ball Winners From Every World Cup
This is the first installment of the four part series of the most important FIFA World Cup awards.
The top performer from each World Cup has been recorded from 1930, but the official Golden Ball award commenced in 1982.
The Golden Ball is the award given to the overall best player in the competition, these include a series of World Class performances.
Here are all the winners since 1930. Who will win this year?
Uruguay 1930: Jose Nasazzi
The first World Cup was played in Uruguay with 13 teams and a very small pool of players to chose from compared to the modern day 32 nations.
It was a very strange tournament. A different ball was used in each half of the Final selected by each team, but that didn't stop Jose Nasazzi from taking Uruguay to the top.
He was the captain of the team and motivator, helping Uruguay overcome a 2-1 deficit in the Final to beat Argentina 4-2.
Italy 1934: Guiseppe Meazza
Guiseppe Meazza is regarded as one of the best Italian players of all time, and his performances in the 1934 World Cup added to his pedigree.
He scored two goals in the tournament, but was the captain and talisman of the team
France 1938: Leonidas
Leonidas became the first player from a losing side to win the Golden Ball.
He scored a then-record seven goals in the competition for Brazil en route to a third place finish.
Brazil 1950: Zizinho
Zizinho was a phenom for Brazil, and Pele's idol.
He was very important for Brazil in the tournament, scoring two goals and helping in attack.
Although they lost to Uruguay in the final, Zizinho was the star player.
Switzerland 1954: Ferenc Puskas
Any one who knows the Spanish club Real Madrid and the famous "Hungary" team will know Puskas.
The Hungary team called The Magical Magyars were amazing at all times.
This team is regarded as one of the best to never win the tournament.
They played the best attacking football, scoring the most goals and destroying all their opponents, yet they lost to West Germany.
Puskas was at the center of it all and was the best player of the competition.
Sweden 1958: Didi
The midfield maestro led Brazil to their first ever World Cup title.
He was the mastermind from midfield and had a young Pele to finish off the chances he created.
Chile 1962: Garrincha
This was supposed to be Pele's tournament, after showing the world what he was made of in 1958 at age 17.
Things were not to be as he got injured for the rest of the tournament in the second game.
Up came Garrincha who scored four goals in two crucial knockout games against England and Chile respectively.
Brazil became only the second country to retain its World Cup title.
England 1966: Bobby Charlton
England's only World Cup win came on their home soil in 1966, and Bobby Charlton was at the center of it all.
Although in the final he was a non-factor, that did not cloud his outstanding performances leading up to Wembley where the Final was played.
Mexico 1970: Pele
It was inevitable that Pele would win a Golden Ball award, but it was a very long wait.
Pele scored four goals in total, including opening the scoring in the Final against Italy and giving Brazil and his third title.
West Germany 1974: Johan Cruijff
Remember that slide about Hungary being one of the teams that never won?
This is another team that should have won.
The Netherlands introduced total football, playing a very organized game and dominating from start to finish.
They conceded only one goal en route to the Final, beating East Germany and Brazil.
They lost to West Germany in the Final, but Johan Cruijff was flat out amazing.
Argentina 1978: Mario Kempes
Argentina were brutal in the tournament, scoring goals at will including a 6-0 annihilation of Peru in the Second round of Group B.
Mario Kempes scored six goals, including two in the Final against the Netherlands.
This was Argentina's first title.
Spain 1982: Paolo Rossi
Italy won their third title and Paulo Rossi was key.
He scored six goals for Italy including a hat-trick against Brazil and one goal in the Final against Germany.
Mexico 1986: Diego Maradona
Another player who cannot be denied a place on the list.
Maradona literally won the tournament single "handed," and many analysts say this was the best ever display of individual brilliance.
This was the tournament of his infamous "Hand of God," and in the same game he scored what is known as the Goal of the Century.
What an eventful tournament.
Italy 1990: Salvatore Schillaci
Salvatore Schillaci was a great striker for Italy in this competition.
He scored in every knockout game for Italy, from the second round to the third place match, and always came through for his team.
He was very unlucky to go home with a bronze medal after his team lost the semifinal to Argentina.
USA 1994: Romario
Romario scored five goals to help Brazil win a record fourth title.
He was a very good striker for Brazil coming through with the crucial goals.
He also converted his penalty in the Final, leading up to Roberto Baggio's miss.
Romario is one of the only players to have scored a total of 1,000 goals in their career.
France 1998: Ronaldo
Brazil continued their dominance on the World Cup stage and Ronaldo was the man to lead them.
He formed a deadly partnership with Rivaldo as they scored seven goals between them and ripped every team.
Controversy still looms over the final game as Ronaldo was too sick to play and was fielded anyway, he had a terrible game and France ended the tournament as 3-0 winners.
Ronaldo was outstanding and Brazil could have arguably won if he hadn't been sick.
Korea/Japan 2002: Oliver Kahn
The only keeper ever to win the Golden Ball, and deservedly so.
He conceded one goal leading up to the final, making saves to keep Germany (who played conservatively) in it.
He made a costly mistake in the Final and Germany lost to Brazil, but even Ronaldo's eight-goal tournament didn't stop voters from picking him (Kahn).
Germany 2006: Zinedine Zidane
"Zidane is finished" were the arguments being made prior to the competition.
After a shaky start, Zidane orchestrated the elimination of Spain in a 3-1 victory.
He then put in arguably the best individual French performance of all time by destroying Brazil.
He scored the winning penalty against Portugal in the semis and scored the opening goal in the Final by chipping a penalty over Gigi Buffon.
Oh yeah, he also head butted Marco Materazzi.
Very eventful Golden Ball winner.
South Africa 2010: Who Will Conquer South Africa?
The final is upon us and we have seen top performances from a lot of players.
Too bad there can only be one winner and here are the candidates,
Diego Forlan, Uruguay
He was his team offensively against every team they played, scoring in all but two games. And all his four goals were scorchers from outside the box.
Wesley Sniejder, Netherlands
The midfield maestro has five goals and has been key to the Netherlands run to the final.
David Villa, Spain
A lethal striker who has five goals, Villa has also led his team's offense by creating chances as well.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany
The talisman was very important for the German team's run up to the semifinal, putting in classy performances against England, Argentina, and Australia.