BBC BLOGS - Jonathan Stevenson
« Previous | Main | Next »

Who's the star performer at the 2010 World Cup?

Post categories:

Jonathan Stevenson | 18:08 UK time, Friday, 9 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Fifa has announced which 10 players are in the running to win the prestigious Golden Ball and emulate the achievement of such greats as Diego Maradona, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. So who are they and do they deserve to be on the shortlist?

1. Diego Forlan, Uruguay
The 31-year-old has enjoyed a career-defining month in South Africa, with his superb displays either up front or just behind two strikers helping Uruguay, the second smallest nation at the tournament, to their best World Cup performance for 40 years. He burst into life with two goals against the hosts in their group game, struck a brilliant leveller to help deny Ghana in the quarter-finals and then scored once more from long range as Uruguay were beaten by the Netherlands in the last four. He has shaken off his tag as a Manchester United flop.

2. Asamoah Gyan, Ghana
If it was Africa's World Cup, Gyan's star shone brighter than any other player from the host continent. He rifled in the winner from the spot in Ghana's first game against Serbia, scored another penalty in the 1-1 draw with Australia and then bagged an extra-time winner against the United States in the last 16. Heartbreakingly for Gyan, he crashed a penalty against the Uruguayan crossbar in the last minute of extra-time in the quarter-finals - and their opponents took full advantage of the let-off to win the shoot-out.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


3. Andres Iniesta, Spain
One half of Barcelona and Spain's midfield pass-axis with Xavi, Iniesta has shown his stunning array of skills on the greatest stage of all. Coming into the tournament after an injury-hit season with his club, Iniesta's return to full fitness gave Spain a timely fillip and his beautifully taken goal against Chile helped seal their progress out of Group H. Throw in crucial roles in David Villa's winners against Portugal in the last 16 and Paraguay in the quarters, not to mention his frighteningly quick feet that has left defenders dumbfounded, and you have one of the world's most complete footballers.

4. Lionel Messi, Argentina
You might be surprised to see the reigning Ballon d'Or winner on this list after he failed to bag a goal in five games and was below par in the crushing quarter-final defeat by Germany. But do not forget the good things Messi brought to the World Cup. He was at his impish best against Nigeria in their opener, helped take South Korea apart in the 4-1 win at Soccer City and proved decisive in breaking down a stubborn Greece team, as well as having a hand in their 3-1 win over Mexico in the last 16. He had 30 shots in total but was denied by some stunning goalkeeping, the woodwork and a bit of bad luck, too.

5. Mesut Ozil, Germany
A star is born. Electric in the 4-0 dismantling of Australia, he scored a wondrous winner against Ghana to book a last-16 spot against England and then proceeded to take Fabio Capello's boys apart just as he had playing for Germany's Under-21 side in 2009. Ozil more than played his part as Argentina were crushed 4-0 in the quarter-finals before his influence ran out against a Spain team that would not let him have the ball for long enough to weave his destructive magic. Ozil's energy, coolness under pressure and unerring eye for a pass have marked him out as a true superstar.

6. Arjen Robben, Netherlands
The flying Dutchman almost did not make it to South Africa after picking up a pre-tournament hamstring injury. But since stepping off the bench against Cameroon in the last group game, he has emerged as a key figure in his side's run to the final. He struck the opener against Slovakia in a 2-1 win, ran Brazil ragged in the second half of their quarter-final and then brilliantly headed in the decisive third against Uruguay in the semi-finals. With his searing pace and ability to go past players, Robben gives a workmanlike outfit some much-needed flair.

7. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany
Rarely in recent history has a footballer remodelled his game with such startling success as 'Schweini'. The peroxide blond kid who burst on to the scene as a teenage winger often used to court controversy. But since being told off by German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a sending-off at Euro 2008, he has never looked back. Now a holding midfielder of power, precision and influence, his performances in the drubbings of England and Argentina were awesome as he ran both games from the middle of the park. Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson called him the tournament's best player, while Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid have been linked with a £50m bid. Capped 80 times, Schweinsteiger is still only 25.

8. Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands
Usually the Robin to Robben's Batman, Sneijder is having the year of his life. Discarded by Real Madrid in 2009, Sneijder joined Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan and has not looked back. After inspiring his team to success in the Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia, he has continued his fine form in South Africa. Given the freedom to roam with Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel in situ behind him, Sneijder has been the creative spark behind the Netherlands' stunning run and has gorged himself on goals, too, amassing five - including a brace against Brazil - that has put him level in the Golden Shoe race with David Villa.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


9. David Villa, Spain
With Fernando Torres out of sorts, Villa's goals have been even more crucial to Spain - and the little master has not let them down. Buoyed by a pre-tournament switch to Barcelona for £34.2m, Villa has been in stunning form, equally devastating cutting in from the left or playing as a central striker. His first of two against Honduras was one of the goals of the tournament. He followed up with another against Chile and then finished clinically against both Portugal and Paraguay to earn slender 1-0 wins in the knockout stages. What price the winner and the Golden Shoe on Sunday?

10. Xavi, Spain
What more can you say about the man named best player at Euro 2008? Xavi is simply the finest passer and keeper of a ball in the world, the architect of the way this Spanish team likes to dominate possession and impose their style on their opponents. He sets the tempo, is always available to receive and can see passes that look impossible, with the weight of pass particularly impressive. He also set up the winner for Carles Puyol's bullet header in the semi-final win over Germany, surprising Joachim Loew's side by whipping a ball in first-time from the left rather than playing Spain's usual short-corner routine.

As part of the accredited media in South Africa, I will soon have to cast my vote for the Golden Ball. You have watched the action, so who do you reckon I should go for?

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Has to be schweinstieger for me.If I had to choose one player to play in all 11 positions I would choose Rooney.No not the Rooney in S.Africa.The Rooney that rampages through the Premiership.The Rooney of a season ago.As he is not of course in the above my next choice is Schwein
    steiger.Much as I admire all of the selections I couldnt imagine Messi as a centreback for example. It all depends what you are looking for as a criteria.Want a ton of goals David Villa.Want to let in a ton of goals.Same player.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    It has to be Midget.

  • Comment number 4.

    #1 - what on earth are you talking about? the golden ball goes to the best player of the tournament, not the most versatile player?!

  • Comment number 5.

    Undoubtedly a no contest this one, Sneijder takes it by a mile. Top scorer as an offensive midfielder? Without him, it's fair to say you simply can't imagine the netherlands team - he's the one irreplaceable player, unlike spain or germany where a couple stand out but there isn't one so clearly above the rest. Oh, and if he wins the world cup (which admittedly seems unlikely) they can hand him the new FIFA Ballon D'Or on a plate, after his season. Messi as a candidate is a joke.. some flair against Nigeria and South Korea, big deal.

  • Comment number 6.

    Don't agree with you on Xavi and Iniesta. Yes they can pass and dominate possession, but how often have they scored in South Africa, how many goals have Spain created from Xavi's and Iniesta's 'sensational' passes? Most of their seven goals(yes, only SEVEN!)have been from free-kicks or corners! Frankly, I find Spain mindnumbingly boring to watch, give me Germany anyday! Their speciality(counter attack) compared to Spain's speciality(passing the ball) is much more thrilling to watch!

    The most deserving in my opinion would be either Ozil, Schweinsteiger or Forlan. Ozil has been a very pleasant surprise this World Cup, it's beautiful watching him play. Schweinsteiger is a massively underrated player, he's been really impressive against Argentina and England, his part in the third goal against Argentina was absolutely brilliant! And Forlan has almost single-handedly taken Uraguay to the semis(I say almost because of Suarez's handball). His long-distance goals are outstanding! The only player to get all his free-kicks on target this WC.

    Gyan has been great too, as has Messi even if the score-sheet says otherwise.

  • Comment number 7.

    While I agree that these 10 players are the best offensive players in the world cup its a shame there's no defenders represented here. What about Maicon, Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Puyol or Maxi Pereira to name a few. A shame defenders are so often overlooked when they are equally important in what is a team sport after all.

  • Comment number 8.

    For me it has to be Schweinsteiger. He exerted tremendous influence in the midfield and was dangerous coming forward on the late charges. Plus its just fun to shout "SCWEINSTEIGER!!" at the top of your lungs in a fake German accent every time he touches the ball.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sneijder gets it for me - he has been the heartbeat of the Dutch team. Ozil gets an honourable mention - I think he was the best of the rest. Next would come Forlan, Villa and Coentrao (should have been on the list in place of Messi or Gyan - who had the most shots in the tournament, and scored 2/3 of his goals from the penalty spot) for me.

  • Comment number 10.

    Got to agree with comment 9, Fabio Coentrao was outstanding in the group games and at the age of 22, surely has a future in La Liga or the Premier League. However, in the above nominees, my vote has to go to either Schweinsteiger or Sneijder. These two have been fantastic throughout the whole World Cup and without them their respective teams would be a lot worse, especially Holland.

  • Comment number 11.

    For me it's Diego Forlan or Wesley Sneijder, they not only scored important goals but both have been outstanding in overall aspect of the game. There have been many individuals display but not many can come close to the dream run Forlan and Sneijder had. They made their presence felt and was in control through out the world cup.

  • Comment number 12.

    #6 the first sin u comitted is to underestimate the influence of INIESTA!!he is a true genuis in my eyes and has been doing what ozil and schweinstieger done for the last 4 years,a creative genius!!!!

    and secondly to undermine XAVI is unbelievably naive the man is a god who ive been watching for 10 years and im still using my fingers to count how many times he has given the ball away and in my opinion should be mentioned in the same vein as maradona,messi,cruyff bla bla!!!maybe sounds crazy but honestly think he is that good...

    but i agree with the rest of ur post ha

    great blog by the way ,totally on the positive aspects of the ten best players of the tourmanent --- list is spot on feel that (ramos,lahm,mueller deserve a mention.cheers

  • Comment number 13.

    You could say with 5 goals a piece and having got thier respective teams to the final, Sunday will be the showdown for Villa & Shneijder

  • Comment number 14.

    Iniesta or Xavi. Actually, both. Full of surprises over and above the sublime technique. They are the reason Spain and Barcelona have dominated world football. Cece, do you know how to play football? Controlling the ball controls the game. Spain played Germany off the park thanks to these two.

  • Comment number 15.

    Sneijder! It has to be. I think Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Forlan and Villa have also been outstanding but Sneijder has been the best. As others pointed out he has scored goals from midfield as well as assists and generally great attacking midfield play. He has been class all season for Inter Milan and has kept it up for the World Cup. Unlike others who might have had great seasons but didnt perform for their countries when it mattered, i wont mention any names..

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm gonna have to go for Forlan, he's been absolutely superb in getting a team than many wouldn't have even predicted reaching the 2nd round to their first semifinal in 40 years. He's demonstrated that he has not only incredible goal-scoring ability but also the ability to orchestrate goals, especially with his strike partner Luis Suarez who has also been exceptional.

    As a Manchester United fan - Fergie, please get him back!

  • Comment number 17.

    What has Iniesta or Xavi done that Thomas Mueller not done? The one game he dint play Germany was terrible. He played in the Champion league's final, which the 2 did not.
    And still the boy gets no respect. Future star.

  • Comment number 18.

    How many people would have guessed there would be no Brazilian names on the list at this point in the tournament. Agree there should be some Defenders on the list and likewise Kingston in the net played far far above what anyone expected. From this list Sneijder is the man...

  • Comment number 19.

    1. Diego Forlan, Uruguay
    He has shaken off his tag as a Manchester United flop.
    -------------------
    What? How exactly do his performances at this WC change the fact that he was a terrible flop at United? He still is, and will always be, one of the worst flops in English football history, even if he has been good after leaving United, because he was absolutely dreadful while at the club. The only way he could possibly shake off this tag would be to rejoin United and this time deliver, and we all know it won't happen.

    For the best player, I'd say Sneijder, he's ran the show for NL and scored a good number of goals too. Given his stunning season at Internazionale the bloke is shoe-in for WPOTY.

  • Comment number 20.

    Other Players that have made a real positive impression this tournament(included other candidates from their country in parenthisis):

    1)Keisuke Honda (Tulio Tanaka)
    2)Andre Ayew (Kwando Asamoah, A Annan, both Princes, Isaac Vorsah, Inkoom)
    3)Uche (Enyeama)
    4)Thomas Mueller (Khedira, Klose)
    5)Nadir Belhadj
    6)Alexi Sanchez (Beausejour, Aturo Vidal, Matti Fernandez)
    7)Lugano (Muslera)
    8)Stecklenberg...I'm blaming the Jabulani for the Forlan shot (De Jong)

  • Comment number 21.

    Have any of you really watched the World Cup. There can only be one. Xavi.................... He is pure football. The playmaker. The only player in England that could be talked about in the same breath has retired from the national squad Paul Scholes of Man Utd. And Xavi is Paul Scholes on a good day by 2. I am not english but I know what England are missing. That is Paul Scholes. LIke Gary Linekar I have my money on Spain since the start so I am looking forward to a big pay day on Sunday. Second for me for the golden ball award is Schweinsteiger

  • Comment number 22.

    One word XAVI...........

  • Comment number 23.

    Why isn't Muller on this list????

  • Comment number 24.

    Sneijder for me with Villa 2nd. I agree with others.....what do defenders have to do to get a look in?

    Coentrao was outstanding and Puyol was immense as always.

  • Comment number 25.

    Ozil or villa no doubt these two have just been sensational this world cup!

  • Comment number 26.

    Three ridiculous inclusions in that list:

    Iniesta is great, but every time i have seen him play in this tournament more often than not he has given the ball away, held on to it too long or played the wrong pass. Maicon had a far better tournament IMO.

    Asamoah Gyan? Is this some sort of a joke? Prince Boateng was the true shining star of that team, that continent.

    Arjen Robben????? He honestly had a better tournament than Fabiano?

    Ozil would have been my young player of the tournament in a list that would have also included Honda and Sanchez.

    Player of the tournament without question is David Villa. He has been more essential to Spain than Sneijder has to Holland.

  • Comment number 27.

    Its between Sneider & Villa in my estimation as both has played a major part in propelling their respective teams to the final. I will go for Sneider for the key role he played in eliminating the almighty Brazillians and the fact that he has been brilliant all season. The cup & golden boot for Spain/Villa of course!

  • Comment number 28.

    I think it is by far SNEIJDER! he has ALMOST single-handedly taken Netherlands to the finals and has also scored some very good goals. I also agree that defender, and even goalkeepers should be given a chance because many, like kingson, coentrao and payola have been immense. Forlan second for me and villa and Xavi joint 3rd

  • Comment number 29.

    Although I am a German and probably a bit biased I think Schweini should take it. He was the man who took Germany this far and although Oezil and Mueller deserve "best youngster" Schweini was the mastermind of German football this year.

    On the other hand for me Iniesta is still the best player on this planet. The way he continually plays is unbelievable. He was the main man in the C-League against Man U and in 2010 again he was pretty damn good.

    However, all in all Schweini should take it. Also, Honda should be in the top 10.

  • Comment number 30.

    This is between Sneijder or Xavi as creativity in midfield has been the key to both of these sides getting through. Xavi is absolute class and has shown once again that he can control any team from midfield. Sneijder has continued his great form for Inter and made Real Madrid look like idiots for letting him go.... plus scored some great goals with it.

    I think which ever team wins on Sunday, the winning player will come from that team. As I think that will be Spain, Xavi will get the award.

    P.S. Whoever says Spain are mindnumbingly boring to watch, clearly doesn't appreciate the skill involved with winning football matches.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hate to sound like an old fart but this used to be much more obvious...

    It was Pele, Cruyff, Maradona, Platini etc. A no brainer. Now it's become so tactical and complicated I could say that the South Korean left back was the best: his distribution and defensive play were second to none...

    We have Xavi and Iniesta nominated here. What great piece of skill can you pick out that made them stand out? I'm not saying that they're not good players, but football has changed so much even since Maradona, that great, great players are now very bland, anonymous players. In my head I can see Cruyff's elegant moves in '74 - Pele's outrageous pieces of skill in 70 and Maradona's amazing performances in '86. Will today's teenagers be able to remember Iniesta or Xavi's contributions even four years from now?

    I know that the game has changed. Much faster etc, but this was the dullest World Cup that I can remember...

  • Comment number 32.

    It's Sneijder's year. He was the man who got Inter the trophy, and he's been the man at the world cup. And I don't like the Dutch particularly. After him, I think Forlan has had the biggest impact on the tournament. Without him I doubt Uruguay would have won a game. Villa's been outstanding, yet I think Spain could have manufactured goals without him. Schweinsteiger's shown he's the best at his position in the world. Ozil's been the best young player. I don't think Robben's had a particularly good tournament, not that he isn't an outstanding player. Xavi may have been the most outstanding talent, but it's hard to rate someone as the best in a tournament when their basic skill is to hold on to the ball. Messi had a bust of a tournament, really, and Gyan was good but not one of the top ten players.

  • Comment number 33.

    Diego Forlan shook off his tag as a Manchester United flop about five years ago.

  • Comment number 34.

    I would have to go for schweinsteiger as he has played the German captain roles in all but name during this world cup with his leadership and hardwork. He has shown the world that he be a brilliant holding midfielder who has got skill and the technical ability to be able to launch counter attacks.

  • Comment number 35.

    Gyan is on the list purely because of politics. Boateng had a great tournament for Ghana, and K. Asamoah and Ayew were good, but none of them should really be on the list, epecially not ahead of the likes of Keisuke Honda and Fabio Contreao who have both been an absolute revelations.

    I don't really understand why Iniesta is on it either; I think he's a fantastic, fantastic player, but he hasn't set the world on fire in South Africa. Same with Robben...

    Sneijder or Schweinsteiger have to win it surely.

  • Comment number 36.


    Forlan for me. How about worst team performance, I'm sure we could all agree on that.

  • Comment number 37.

    Agree with #7, that you seem to have completely overlooked the defensive side of the game, and #35, that Asamoah Gyan's inclusion is unadulterated political correctness. The inability of the Ghana attack to convert the quality of the rest of their play was the reason they didn't progress further, though Gyan was often striking a lone furrow up front. I think you've included him based purely on his scoring a well-taken goal against the USA, and possibly even sympathetically after missing the penalty against Uruguay, not on his overall contribution through the competition, which was significant, but I don't think stood out such as Diego Forlan's has.

    Even if you could argue Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso have been boring their opposition to defeat and should create more chances with all their possession, if they become World Champions tomorrow I don't think you can overlook how influential at least 2 of these players have been though I know what #31 means when he says that a lot of the recognised difference makers these days often can seem anonymous on the pitch, e.g. I heard it said that for all the glitz, the most important player of Del Bosque's CL winning Real Madrid teams was Claude Makelele. I hear people saying the same of Van Bommel for Holland. While not always beautiful to watch Ramos seems to be very important to Spain offensively as well as defensively, the same as Lahm for Germany. I thought Lucio was outstanding for Brazil. Bar the latter stages of their game against Holland, Brazil dominated most of the rest of their campaign with Maicon and Fabiano impressing. Neuer was very good in goal for Germany. Sorry Jonathan, this is straight out of the Sven 'Why bother wasting hours of time working when the hype can do a lot of the work for me?' manual on how to get on in life, though I do think Mueller and Schweinsteiger made a difference for Germany.

  • Comment number 38.

    Nigel de Jong for Holland has been excellent as a defensive midfielder getting at the opposition. He was missed in the S-F and Uruguay scored 2 goals. He and Van Bommel against Xavi and Alonso will be one of the pivotal battles as well as Iniesta against De Wiel. Not sure why Man City bought Yaya Toure given they already have De Jong.

  • Comment number 39.

    God there is nothing worse than an English football fan - How exactly are Spain boring. The levels of skill and close control they show is immense and is worth the entrance fee alone. Just because our beloved Rooney could never aspire to such sublime skills does not mean one has to deride them. Also, has anyone forgotten how stupendously amazing and exciting they were at Euro '08 (which is the best tournament I have ever seen)- they were scoring goals all over the place - admittedly they have'nt reached those heights but only a fool would call them dull.
    Also, no way is this the most unexciting World Cup - that dubious honour goes to Germany '06 - two good games from what I remember and the atrocity that was Ukraine vs Switzerland. There have been some fairly great games this time around; SA-Mexico; Slovakia-Italy; Uruguay-Ghana; Holland-Brazil just to name a few.
    As for player of the tournament - Villa, truly world class.

  • Comment number 40.

    Xavi has yet again had an incredible tournament. For those saying that Spain are boring, that is absurd - the truth is, there is no other national team in the world who can play in that way. They don't play like that because of the tactical insight of the coach, it is because they have the technique and intelligence to keep and win back possession all day long. Schweinsteiger and Ozil are outstanding players but they could not exert their dominance against the midfield quality of Spain. Loew, with great humility said as much in his post-match analysis of the differences between the two sides.

    Make no mistake about it - this Spanish team, over the past 3 years or so has become the greatest international team we have seen in a long time. International football has for a long time produced very average sides in comparison to the club game but they, albeit being a poor man's Barcelona, are right up there. In my opinion they are even better than the great France, Brazil, Netherlands teams from around 10 years ago, and they may even be the best since Brazil in 1982.

    They keep possession with so much composure and confidence, and they win it back from anywhere in the pitch with so much urgency and tenacity that the opposition are strangled. The only thing which sets them apart from Barca, is the full-backs, who don't deliver enough end-product. Although Ramos provides width and is always available going forward, he's no Dani Alves when he has the ball at his feet. If they had better options on the flanks, they'd be truly devastating.

    At their heart is Xavi who is one of the greatest midfielders of all time. I don't say that lightly, but after watching him play in the flesh, I can tell you he's a maestro. He will always make himself available for the pass and he can always find a teammate no matter how many opponents are closing him down. He maintains that level throughout 90 minutes game in, game out. He sees the ball more than anyone else, he loses it less than anyone else, actually he doesn't lose it, ever.

    So for me, he's a shoe-in for the award. Schweinsteiger, Villa and Sneijder have also had excellent tournaments and should follow.

    31 - Xavi & Iniesta - bland?!? Messi and Iniesta most definitely fit the bill of what you are talking about, who take players on with their magical trickery and will be remembered in the same vein as those great players. There are countless moments of individual pieces of play that these 2 can already be remembered for in their short careers so far. Xavi is an unbelievably graceful player who dominates matches and brings out the best in Messi and Iniesta both.

    Yes, Maradona, Garrincha, Cruyff, Best were incredible players, but we've been privileged to have no shortage of geniuses in recent times too - as well as those mentioned - the real Ronaldo, Zidane, Romario will go down as legends.

    My team of the tournament?

    Eduardo
    Maicon Lucio Puyol Contreao
    Xavi Schweinsteiger
    Ozil Sneijder Iniesta
    Villa

    Robben, Mueller and Sanchez have also had excellent tournaments.

  • Comment number 41.

    Where is Muller? He and Schweinsteiger were brilliant for Germany. I think also Ramos should be on the list. i think the Spanish defense have been very good. Schneider has also shone in the Dutch team, much more than Robben. Maybe Robben may light up the final?

  • Comment number 42.

    What is Flatiron talking about, picking players who can play centre back or centre forward? In the land of normality, I'd say Forlan pips it from Schweinsteiger by a nose. He looks unbelievable, absolutely everything goes through him, he is absolute class, his first touch, control, vision, calmness on the ball everything. For me he has become one of the best in the world in his respective position. Rooney take note!!

  • Comment number 43.

    Why aren't there any defenders considered? Defenders like Mertesacker, Lahm and Friedrich have been really solid for Germany as have the Spanish defenders like Puyol and Pique (though Pique did give away the penalty against Paraguay). Germany have only conceded 3 up till now and Spain have only conceded twice, surely the defence has to get credit for that.

    As for me, Schweinsteiger has to take it, calming presence in the center of midfield and that run to set up Friedrich against Argentina was just sublime, even though he got past strikers and wingers rather than defenders.

    Sneijders goals have been lucky, Japan's keeper should have stopped the goal, Felipe Melo scored an own goal and the one against Uruguay was deflected. He has been sensational for the dutch though so I'd say that he's a close second.

    For some reason, FIFA don't seem to like the German's a lot, Muller in particular should be shortlisted instead of Gyan, who only scores (or doesn't score) penalties. African players in general have been poor with a few notable exceptions. Keisuke Honda could also easily be included as well IMO.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm surprised Arjen Robben is still fit to play. It seems he has been in constant agony from all the massive knocks that have forced him to the floor on a huge number of occasions. How he manages to brush off the severe pain that only moments before was causing him to writhe in agony and get back up and keep going time after time is beyond me. He must have a very high pain threshold or have a heart as big as a lion. Lesser players would have given up under such rough and unjust treatment, but not Robben.

    Either that or he is the biggest cheat in the tournament and to try and claim him as one of its best players is a disgrace...?

    For player of the tournament I'm going to go leftfield and suggest Ryan Nelsen. A journeyman Premiership defender who captained New Zealand beyond the expectation of severe drubbings to three draws and marshalled the defence against Italy brilliantly, effectively consigning the defending champions to an early exit. And he played the last game with gastro, and was only 40% fit by his reckoning. Ok, so he may not be as technically gifted as those on the list above, but for outstanding achievement and rising to another level, he deserves a prize of some sort.

  • Comment number 45.

    ...and Muller???? The player which the German team couldn't do without against Spain, The player that bagged two goals against England, The best player of the tournament...poor choice!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Bloody hell!!!

    Where's Mueller?!?!?

    4 goals and 3 assistants = 7 goals

    Most of them on the list are on the basis of showcasing their skills, technic etc but Mueller has done something measurable as in he was involved in 7 goals!! what more do you need to do get into the nomination.

    May be they thought he shouldnt win two awards :)

  • Comment number 47.

    It's Schweini all the way for me. From a speedy winger cutting in from the wing unleashing venomous shots to a responsible holding midfielder running the show from his anchor role...I never saw that coming. Has inspired me to be a better footballer too.

    I'm suprised that Messi is on the list, I think Kevin-Prince deserved to be on the list. Gyan's inclusion wasn't necessarily political really...he was lone striker and worked very very hard upfront alone.

  • Comment number 48.

    Oh, and I'm also sad Müller wasn't included, I could substitute him for Gyan! Although he's obviously gonna win Young Player of the tournament. It's a fitting reward to a player who came under Özil's shadow as the next big thing...Özil has been superb himself, but Müller has also stamped down his mark for years to come...

  • Comment number 49.

    Opinion is a great thing. Had to laugh though when some guy stated he didnt like spain because of their passing style but did like germany because of their counter-attacking. You still have to pass to do this mate!! Dear o dear. Anyway....

    1.Sneijder-scorer of 5 goals, influential against Uraguay, Slovakia, Cameroon, and Japan. Brilliant against Brazil. The supply line for Robben and Kuyt.

    2. Silver ball- david villa- Brilliant against Honduras and chile. Great goals, Terrorised Portugals right-back and could have had 3.

    3.Forlan- Great shooting & invention. Led his side forward and showed class in all games.

    4. Scweinsteiger- Like sneijder but without the goals. Great against Australia,England & Argentina. If he scored more hed be 2nd or 3rd.

    5.Muller-surprise of the tournament. Great opportunism, scored4 from 6 attempts and was heavily involved in the counter-attacking of ze germans.

  • Comment number 50.

    If it is to be Xavi, which surely is a joke as both he and Spain have actually performed poorly except for the Germany match, then surely it should be Xavi Alonso who has made Spain tick this World Cup. Its been down to him and Busquets that Spain are still in the competition.

    Forlan has been by far the best all round footballer, particularly I don't remember seeing him dive and plays like he actually enjoys it.

  • Comment number 51.

    1. Diego Forlan, Uruguay
    He has shaken off his tag as a Manchester United flop.
    -------------------
    19. What? How exactly do his performances at this WC change the fact that he was a terrible flop at United? He still is, and will always be, one of the worst flops in English football history, even if he has been good after leaving United, because he was absolutely dreadful while at the club. The only way he could possibly shake off this tag would be to rejoin United and this time deliver, and we all know it won't happen.

    For the best player, I'd say Sneijder, he's ran the show for NL and scored a good number of goals too. Given his stunning season at Internazionale the bloke is shoe-in for WPOTY.
    ------------
    Ok maybe he did not succeed at Man U. However once Forlan decides to call it a day I'm pretty certain that the only people who still summarise his career by saying he was a Man U flop are those journalists and fans who can't see past the English premiership as the be all and end all - widen your horizons folks and look at what else he has achieved.

  • Comment number 52.

    For me it is Schweinsteiger closely followed by Villa.

    With regards to Xavi and Iniesta, I feel they have been below their best during the tournament. I know Xavi has not given the ball away at all in the tournament but I can not remember many flashes of genius he usually performs for Barcalona. With the exception of Villa, I have thought Spain have been average whilst attacking. 8 goals in 7 games I think?!

    I am not doubting they are both great players but I feel at least 5 others on the list have performed better.

    Also, as others have said, why are there no defencive players? I thought Lahm should have been a definate on the shortlist!

  • Comment number 53.

    re 49. At 09:24am on 10 Jul 2010, beautifulbarrettboy wrote:
    Opinion is a great thing. Had to laugh though when some guy stated he didnt like spain because of their passing style but did like germany because of their counter-attacking. You still have to pass to do this mate!!

    I kind of agreed with the guy although from a slightly different perspective! Spain are without doubt the best footballing side in the world but sometimes I found myself channel hoping when they were on because I knew in 20 seconds when I turned back, they would still have the ball and still be on the edge of the final third of the pitch. Whereas I would not think about turning away from a Germany match because they could go from defence to having a shot in a few seconds without lumping the ball up pitch.

    As you say, all about opinions but for me, high tempo, direct attacking football is a winner.

  • Comment number 54.

    Has to be Schweini, clearly. Most influential player for Germany who played still the best match of the tournament against Argentina

  • Comment number 55.

    @31.
    The Golden Ball was not awarded pre 1982.

  • Comment number 56.

    No disrespect to Spain , #40, but to me "greatest international team for many years" doesn't quite gel with just 7 goals in 6 matches...

    You could make a case for several stars for player of the tournament and I guess these last two matches will settle the choice.
    Myself I like Forlan or Schweinstager but am just fine with Villa or Sneijder , and I suspect whichever of them ends up on the winning team will prevail...

  • Comment number 57.

    Ozil for me. If he resists the temptation of moving abroad to a big club which demands instant gratification, he will be better that Zidane ever was by the time he is 24.

  • Comment number 58.

    57. At 10:49am on 10 Jul 2010, fabulousRedsReds wrote:

    Ozil for me. If he resists the temptation of moving abroad to a big club which demands instant gratification, he will be better that Zidane ever was by the time he is 24.
    ----------------------------------------------
    I don't think so. He is good, but he has a long way to go. To be better than Zidane ever was by the age of 24? Come on, Zidane was one of the greatest. That is complete disrespect to Zidane. Have a look again at France v Brazil 2006 QF World Cup to remind yourself how good Zidane was. He tore them to pieces.

  • Comment number 59.

    For me it has to be Schweini. Germany has been by far the most entertaining team in the tournament. Agree completely with #6. Spain are like watching paint dry!

  • Comment number 60.

    Sneijder will win it bcos he deserves it. he's had an awesome year.
    but those of u saying Gyan is included because of politics are very funny. how many games has robben played in the world cup? and wat has iniesta done at the world cup?
    yet they are included.
    Gyan has been one of the best players at this world cup,take it or leave it.

  • Comment number 61.

    For me it has to be Germany's PigFarmer (note to mods** that's German for Schweinsteiger). He's been the most consistent player by a country mile and has easily been the best player on the park each time the Germans have played.

    Not bad considering he was up against the world's best player in one of those games! Now if only Mike Ashley will put his hands in his extremely deep pockets and purchase the lad for Newcastle's assault on the Premiership title next year - we can but dream :)

  • Comment number 62.

    It's Sneijder's or Villa's, if holland win or the final is even a close game Sneijder will get it, if Villa scores a couple of goals and Spain win comfortably then he will get it. There's no way it will be Shweinsteiger, he had a decent tournament but not unbelievable, and it always goes to one of the players from the finalists. Since 1938 the only player to get it and not be in the tournament final was Schillaci for Italy in 1990.

  • Comment number 63.

    @44. At 08:13am on 10 Jul 2010, BennyBlanco wrote:

    For player of the tournament I'm going to go leftfield and suggest Ryan Nelsen. A journeyman Premiership defender who captained New Zealand beyond the expectation of severe drubbings to three draws and marshalled the defence against Italy brilliantly, effectively consigning the defending champions to an early exit.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Italy's exit went way beyond anything New Zealand did against them. And while credit is due to NZ for overachieving, I watched all 3 of their games and frankly I'd rather saw off my arm with a rusty blade than have to watch another NZ game!

    @59. At 11:12am on 10 Jul 2010, BavarianBrit wrote:
    For me it has to be Schweini. Germany has been by far the most entertaining team in the tournament. Agree completely with #6. Spain are like watching paint dry!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Biased are we? How did the drying paint look as Spain dominated Germany in the SF....from start to finish? Germany actually had 2 outstanding displays (I'm discarding the 1st game against a disorganised Australia who had a player very harshly sent off) and other than that they were what we all expected......average.

    @60. At 11:14am on 10 Jul 2010, ekpodo wrote:
    Sneijder will win it bcos he deserves it. he's had an awesome year.
    but those of u saying Gyan is included because of politics are very funny. how many games has robben played in the world cup? and wat has iniesta done at the world cup?
    yet they are included.
    Gyan has been one of the best players at this world cup,take it or leave it.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'll leave it, thanks. Gyan should be nowhere near the list. Let's wait to see the top clubs lining-up for his signature shall we? Won't happen and he wasn't even the best Ghanian player.




  • Comment number 64.

    Forlan by a mile! Pretty much single-handedly at times dragged his country to the semi's and worked his socks off and still scored even though not fit it said match.

    Every other player on the list has someone else in their team who can shoulder the burdern. Forlan doesn't. Forget Messi, Forlan is the Maradona of the tournament

    And on Messi yes I was surprised. Being good against 3 rubbish teams in the group stages is hardly a great endorsement Jonathon, and as for mexico, well had Tevez's goal not been given (which it shouldn't have been) it would have been a diffent game.

    The player of the tournement is someone who lifts his team and drags them to the next level when the chips are down. Messi didn't even come close against Germany. Forlan's had to do it every game!

  • Comment number 65.

    Funny all the people shouting for Sneider, I think if you take away the goals he has done very little; he hasn't controlled a game in the way Xavi or Schweinsteger have.
    For me it's a straight call up between Schweinsteiger and Forlan, with Villa as third - all have been the beating heart of their teams and the reason they got where they are. Ozil was fantastic in the group stages and against England but did nothing against Argentina or Spain, but both he and Mueller will be candidates next time around if they progress in the right way.
    Xavi and Iniesta would be very uninspiring choices - is being the master of a ten yard square ball really what makes the world's best player?

  • Comment number 66.

    #63 To be honest it was pretty boring.....At least Germany had two outstanding displays. Some teams that will remain nameless had none......

  • Comment number 67.

    It's nearly always the attacking players that are the big contenders for this award but what odds would you have gotten before the competition began on Rooney, Messi, Torres and Ronaldo only scoring a total of 1 goal between them?

    Massive I would have thought!

  • Comment number 68.

    Messi ? 1 assist and no goals in 5 games and he´s one of the top 10 ? Ridiculous. No, it should be Schweinsteiger and it will be Xavi or Iniesta because it´s almost always someone in the final.
    But how about a prize for the best looker ? My nominee is di Maria of Argentina - a mixture of a rabbit and a pixie, I love it !

  • Comment number 69.

    57. At 10:49am on 10 Jul 2010, fabulousRedsReds wrote:

    Ozil for me. If he resists the temptation of moving abroad to a big club which demands instant gratification, he will be better that Zidane ever was by the time he is 24.
    ----------------------------------------------
    I don't think so. He is good, but he has a long way to go. To be better than Zidane ever was by the age of 24? Come on, Zidane was one of the greatest. That is complete disrespect to Zidane. Have a look again at France v Brazil 2006 QF World Cup to remind yourself how good Zidane was. He tore them to pieces.
    __________________________________________________

    No disrespect to Zidande. Big Zidane fan here and I followed moost of his career, from Bordeaux to Madrid. Ozil is however, miles ahead of a 21 year old Zidane. If their development is at the same rate, Ozil will reach Zidane's peak when he is 24. Which 21 year old has ever been given the permission to play a free role and choose anywhere to run in a German team? None. Ozil is the first. Steven Gerrard is not trusted with that to this day, for England.

  • Comment number 70.

    63. At 11:58am on 10 Jul 2010, WordsofWisdom wrote:
    I'll leave it, thanks. Gyan should be nowhere near the list. Let's wait to see the top clubs lining-up for his signature shall we? Won't happen and he wasn't even the best Ghanian player.
    -----------------------------------

    rather stupid comment.
    wat have top clubs got to do with someones performance at the world cup?
    rooney plays for a top club but was woeful. we are talking abt how someone performed at the world cup and u are speaking of who top clubs want to sign.
    thats stupid.

  • Comment number 71.

    Not sure about Spain being boring. For me it´s like watching a snake slowly but surely throttling someone, interesting but only for half an hour or so. There´s no cut and thrust in spanish games but at least on Sunday Mark van Bommel will get stuck in, which as Paraguay showed us is the best way to play these guys.

  • Comment number 72.

    @68. At 12:22pm on 10 Jul 2010, badcomputerkarma wrote:
    "But how about a prize for the best looker ? My nominee is di Maria of Argentina - a mixture of a rabbit and a pixie, I love it !"

    LOL!

    How about Ozil? A cross between a haddock and Marty Feldman (if you're old enough to remember who he was)!

  • Comment number 73.

    @66. At 12:10pm on 10 Jul 2010, BavarianBrit wrote:
    #63 To be honest it was pretty boring.....At least Germany had two outstanding displays. Some teams that will remain nameless had none......
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Can't disagree there BB, especially with me not being English....

  • Comment number 74.

    70. At 12:27pm on 10 Jul 2010, ekpodo wrote:
    63. At 11:58am on 10 Jul 2010, WordsofWisdom wrote:
    I'll leave it, thanks. Gyan should be nowhere near the list. Let's wait to see the top clubs lining-up for his signature shall we? Won't happen and he wasn't even the best Ghanian player.
    -----------------------------------

    rather stupid comment.
    wat have top clubs got to do with someones performance at the world cup?
    rooney plays for a top club but was woeful. we are talking abt how someone performed at the world cup and u are speaking of who top clubs want to sign.
    thats stupid.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not stupid at all expodo my friend. All the 'non established' players who perform well at the WC are instantly linked with big clubs....and many are bought for big money. It happens every time.

    But leaving that aside, I don't rate the guy. Prince Boateng gave far more to the Ghanian effort but, in truth, no African player is worthy of the list....which is a shame as it's the first time they have hosted it.

    Pity Essien was injured or Cote D'Ivoire couldn't have gone further!

  • Comment number 75.

    Mueller - without a shadow of a doubt. In all fairness he should take out the Golden Ball, the under-21 player, and probably the Golden Boot as well. He's on 4 goals now, and was patently robbed of a potential game winning role in the Germany-Spain game by some power hungry official throwing yellow cards in all directions on a whim. 4 goals/3 assists, including one against Argentina in the 3rd minute!!!! Fast, fantastic reader of the game. Can play in several roles and uses both his left and right feet. Starred in Bayern's near miss in the Champions League. All this at only 20 years!!!!!! If he doesn't become a victim of his own success, he's going to be a big star of the future......

  • Comment number 76.

    #73 If we agreed then life would be really be boring....Interesting that you thought that I was referring to England!

  • Comment number 77.

    How about the poorest player? Rooney for me stands out. He will be historic if he shows up in 4 years time in Brazil and does not score! First striker ever to play in 3 successive world cups and not score a goal! Emile Heskey did himself some good, I think - did not impress, did not disappoint. Just gave us vintage Heskey. Should not have been there though..

  • Comment number 78.

    74. At 12:38pm on 10 Jul 2010, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    70. At 12:27pm on 10 Jul 2010, ekpodo wrote:
    63. At 11:58am on 10 Jul 2010, WordsofWisdom wrote:
    I'll leave it, thanks. Gyan should be nowhere near the list. Let's wait to see the top clubs lining-up for his signature shall we? Won't happen and he wasn't even the best Ghanian player.
    -----------------------------------

    rather stupid comment.
    wat have top clubs got to do with someones performance at the world cup?
    rooney plays for a top club but was woeful. we are talking abt how someone performed at the world cup and u are speaking of who top clubs want to sign.
    thats stupid.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not stupid at all expodo my friend. All the 'non established' players who perform well at the WC are instantly linked with big clubs....and many are bought for big money. It happens every time.

    But leaving that aside, I don't rate the guy. Prince Boateng gave far more to the Ghanian effort but, in truth, no African player is worthy of the list....which is a shame as it's the first time they have hosted it.

    Pity Essien was injured or Cote D'Ivoire couldn't have gone further!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    so then what have the big clubs got to do with this?
    klose and podolski have never quite set bayern munich alight but consistently perform for germany. do u say bcos they are not among the best at club level when they have good tournaments u discount it?
    thats what is not making sense to me.
    who will u rather replace gyan with in the list?
    messi even made the list though he didnt play too well. but at least he has the name.
    why do u say because gyan is not in a big club he doesnt deserve to be in the list. thats a pathetic and lame point.

  • Comment number 79.

    As a few have said, pity there are no defensive players on the list - I'd say that for example Lahm gives his team a lot more than he gets credit for. Runs his socks off, is very accurate when passing - and he does some of that passing after running all the way from the back to support the attack. At the same, time, he has been very good defensively and has really lead by example - calm, focused, hard-working, efffective.

    Gyan is an unbelievable choice. Political corectness again.

    Anyway, I think it needs to be between the Spanish and Dutch players ultimately. They did go towards the very end. I look back at the defining Zidane's performance in France (the first WC I really remember) and it seems that a player should have it not just for a generally outstanding performance, but for an important contribution in the final game as well. It is therefore too early too call it. If you need to pick one, go for Villa. Where would Spain be without him? Certainly not in the final. I just cannot see anyone who would score the goals for them, no one with a real drive for the goal. With respect towards the talents of Iniesta and Xavi, they need that drive desperately.

  • Comment number 80.

    78. At 12:47pm on 10 Jul 2010, ekpodo wrote:
    74. At 12:38pm on 10 Jul 2010, WordsofWisdom wrote:

    70. At 12:27pm on 10 Jul 2010, ekpodo wrote:
    63. At 11:58am on 10 Jul 2010, WordsofWisdom wrote:
    I'll leave it, thanks. Gyan should be nowhere near the list. Let's wait to see the top clubs lining-up for his signature shall we? Won't happen and he wasn't even the best Ghanian player.
    -----------------------------------

    rather stupid comment.
    wat have top clubs got to do with someones performance at the world cup?
    rooney plays for a top club but was woeful. we are talking abt how someone performed at the world cup and u are speaking of who top clubs want to sign.
    thats stupid.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Not stupid at all expodo my friend. All the 'non established' players who perform well at the WC are instantly linked with big clubs....and many are bought for big money. It happens every time.

    But leaving that aside, I don't rate the guy. Prince Boateng gave far more to the Ghanian effort but, in truth, no African player is worthy of the list....which is a shame as it's the first time they have hosted it.

    Pity Essien was injured or Cote D'Ivoire couldn't have gone further!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    so then what have the big clubs got to do with this?
    klose and podolski have never quite set bayern munich alight but consistently perform for germany. do u say bcos they are not among the best at club level when they have good tournaments u discount it?
    thats what is not making sense to me.
    who will u rather replace gyan with in the list?
    messi even made the list though he didnt play too well. but at least he has the name.
    why do u say because gyan is not in a big club he doesnt deserve to be in the list. thats a pathetic and lame point.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    You miss my point(s)expodo! I did not say he shouldn't be recognised because he is not at a big club. What I said is that if he was rated that highly based on his WC performances the big clubs would be showing some interest. They're not!

    You ask who I'd replace him with in the list. I already said Prince Boateng for one......but I could list many others.

    But I do agree with you on Messi.....shouldn't be there!

  • Comment number 81.

    Golden Ball: Forlan (Uruguay)

    Team of the tournament: Paston (New Zealand), Alcaraz (Paraguay), Lahm (Germany), Lucio (Brazil), Van Bommel (Holland), Prince Boateng (Ghana), Thomas Mueller (Germany), Sneijder (Holland), Honda (Japan), Forlan (Uruguay), Villa (Spain)

    Most disapointing team of tournament: Green (England), Evra (France), Gallas (France), Terry (England), Poulsen (Denmark), Ribery (France), Melo (Brazil), Gourcuff (France), Kaita (Nigeria), Rooney (England), Gilardino (Italy)

  • Comment number 82.

    For those critisizing Spain for only scoring 8 IN 6 GAMES, have a look at the games against Honduras, Switzerland,Portugal, Paraguay and germany and tell me how those teams were set up to play. Sorry maybe they should have counter-attacked? Oh yeah i forgot they couldnt beacuse the opposition half was choc full of players!

  • Comment number 83.

    It is pleasing to note that of all the people in a country that has football as its national religion that a referee makes the final!
    These much maligned people "make it happen" for all of us wanabe "super heros" every week!
    I mean, "really ref, he fell over my feet!".
    The really good refs are the ones that no-one notices!
    The card waving "look at me's" need to have a judging panel too!

  • Comment number 84.

    Dirk Kuyt deserves a mention. Top of the assists chart, the Netherlands couldn't have got to the final without him. Nowhere near as spectacular to watch as Sneijder and Robben but Kuyt's tireless work allows them the freedom to play without fear of losing the ball. Plus his crossing is more often than not spot on so much so that Robben even scored a header.

  • Comment number 85.

    Ozil, Klose, Schweinsteiger.

    Why?

    Ozil's movement is just awesome to behold, and I don't think there's anyone at the tournament who comes close in terms of vision and creativity. The key to Germany's counter-attacking football was the experience of Klose combined with the genius of Ozil and the hard work of Schweinsteiger - a triangle not disimilar to Iniesta/Villa/Senna at the last European Championships.

    Klose was fantastic at this World Cup, using his experience and intelligence of movement to pull defenders out of position and allow others to exploit the gaps - as well as showing a certain England defence up to be seriously lacking in brains, in concert with Ozil. Assuming Germany can find someone to replace Klose, they'll win at least one World Cup with some version of this team in the next 8 years; all they lacked was experience against Spain.

    For my money, Ozil was far more impressive than either Xavi or Iniesta; in fact I don't think either of those two haved actually looked all that good at this tournament, and nor have Spain.

    I suspect they may be missing a certain Senna, who was, I feel, the sorely underrated key player for Spain at the European Championships two years ago: Senna did all the hard work so Iniesta and Xavi could flourish ahead of him, much as Busquets did at Barcelona last year and Yaya Toure did the year before. People seem to have forgotten why Spain were enjoyable to watch at the EC: it was because they played gorgeous, attacking, fluid football.

    This Spain side plays slow, controlled, rigid football. Not pretty, but effective - except when you consider how much more they could achieve if they played to the potential that the level of technique running through their side should enable. If I were Spanish, I would be very unhappy with Del Bosque right now.

    Also, Forlan wasn't actually a flop at United; and contrary to what some mad person said way up there, was far from the worst signing in United history. Good grief, there have been some horrendous ones - Taibi really stands out, the poor sod.

    Granted, Forlan only scored something like 10 goals in 60 appearances, but you do have to factor in that the majority of those 60 appearances were from the bench - and he was not consistently played. He never had a consistent, proper run in the side, and as soon as he got that at Villareal, he banged in 25+ goals in La Liga. Admittedly, back then, La Liga was perhaps not so hot defensively compared to the Premiership (a situation slowly reversing, in my opinion).

    Furthermore, I think if you ask most (intelligent) United fans, they'll tell you that we all knew he was a fantastic player - even if he wasn't scoring. Certainly, he was tremendously popular and I don't recall the OT crowd turning on him, despite disappointment that he wasn't hitting what we knew he was capable of.

    I really have no idea why Messi is even on this list. Veron was Argentina's key player at this tournament, as anyone who knows anything about the Argentina national side ought to be able to tell you. Without him they were sorely lacking in creativity, and, although Messi did offset that problem by running at players and pulling defenders out of position, he certainly wasn't able to change their fortunes on the pitch any because there was nobody to lay the ball off to who could exploit the space with a killer ball. Any sub-par-ness to his game at the World Cup is entirely Maradonna's fault; he really ought to have let Messi do his talking with his feet, instead of with Diego's tongue.

    Ugh, that last sentence is sortof... disturbing. -.-

  • Comment number 86.

    Ok, my two cents:

    1. Forlan: Has effectively single handedly taken Uraguay to a 3rd/4th place play-off place (ignoring a certain Suarez's helping hand). Scored some great goals, played with real joy and passion and didn't spend half of his time on the pitch rolling around in 'agony'. For me one of the real joys of this WC has been watching Forlan prove to all the doubters in England that a bad time at Man U doesn't define a career, a performance like this at the WC finals does.

    2. Gyan: A purely political inclusion on this list. One decent goal and some penalties. Hard working but ultimately not a player with the class to shine on the world stage. Showed a complete lack of composure by trying to balloon the net with the last minute penalty against Uraguay.

    3. Iniesta: There can be no doubt that he's a sublime talent, but has frankly been poor by his own high standards for long periods of this WC. Have seen him run into dead ends and give the ball away far too much for him to be satisfied with his own performances in this WC.

    4. Messi: Some flashes of brilliance against poor teams. Will admit was only denied a goal or two by some great goalkeeping, but a player touted as the world's best should have had something more to say when his team had their backs to the wall in the knock out stages of a WC.

    5. Ozil: Has been a revelation. One of many players from Germany who could have made this list (Mueller, Klose and Lahm can all think they should be on here IMO), but his sumputous goal against Ghana and his wonderful work in the demolitions of Australia, England and Argentina mean nobody can argue with him being on this list. I expect great things of this player who has a big future ahead of him.

    6. Robben: Has he been hugely important in the context of the Dutch's run to the final? Yes. When he regained fitness and was able to start for the Dutch did he greatly increase their danger going forward? Yes. Is he a cheating little toe-rag who doesn't deserve to win the Golden Ball? Yes.

    7. Schweinsteiger: Despite the fantastic performances of the younger Germans like Ozil and Mueller, it's been the calm and professional work of this man (and Lahm, to be fair) that really gave Germany the platform to build on. Has completely re-invented himself as a player, and has done it on the biggest stage of all. Without doubt the man who has benefitted most from Ballack's injury, and I hope he has the decency to send Kevin Prince-Boatang and thank you note. Has to be one of the main contenders, but his lack of goals will ultimately stop him from walking away with the prize, unfortunately.

    8. Sneijder: Has been instrumental in the Dutch's tournament and you can't argue with 5 goals from midfield. However, until Robben's return to the side looked sulky and indisciplined having to play with van der Vaart in the midfield as well. Is greedy on the ball and the number of times he's hit a shot instead of playing in van Persie is one of the major reasons vP has only scored once this tournament. Can thank the ball, poor goalkeeping, deflections and an own goal for his tally. As for his season with Inter, it was excellent, but it should have absolutely no bearing on this award. There have been better at this WC.

    9. Villa: Simply put, without this man Spain wouldn't have made it to the final. Possibly the best striker in the world right now. Not much else that can be said.

    10. Xavi: I love this player. When you watch him play you know you are watching one of the greats of the modern game. So calm in possession, so good at making himself available for a pass and great distribution. He shows the world everytime he takes the pitch that keeping it simple is how you keep the ball and the England midfield should be made to watch videos of his games all day every day until they learn. Unfortunately for Xavi, I honestly think that Schweinsteiger has done a better job of providing his team with a heartbeat and inspiration then Xavi has at this tournament. Xavi has done well, but I don't think he has shone in the same way as some of the other contenders.

    So, in summery, for me it's between Forlan, Villa and Schweinsteiger for the Golden Ball. As I said, I think that Schweinsteiger's lack of goals will ultimately stop him winning the prize, meaning it's between Forlan and Villa. Villa will probably win it, I think, but in my heart I'd rather see Forlan get it. He's been a gentleman and a great competitor throughout this tournament and I honestly believe if there is any fairness in the world people will see that this WC can have no better ambassador as it's best player then Diego Forlan.

  • Comment number 87.

    No 1 on my list is Xavi, he is a really good player and great on the ball, I have thought for many years now that he is better than the likes of Ronaldo, Messi etc. someone commented that he doesnt score goals, If thats the sign of a great player then players like Klose should be top of the list. Xavi is so consistent rarely loses the ball in a game and is always available for team mates to pass to. and he never throws tantrums like rooney, ronaldo and co.

  • Comment number 88.

    The only people who still think of "Man United flop" when they see Diego Forlan are insular Premiership fans. Since leaving United he's been immense: two Pichichis, two European Golden Boots, and this season he's been more influential than ever. He dragged Atletico Madrid to European glory and has now hauled Uruguay to the semi-finals of the World Cup.

  • Comment number 89.

    In my opinion, it has to be Ozil. Not only has he shown a maturity beyond his years but he has also shown the youthful hunger of somebody who wants to achieve at the very highest level. Where other young players have been caught up in their own myth-making, he has gone about creating one of his own. This World Cup has shown an array of spectacular talent, some of whom I hope to see in the premiership next season. Maybe Ozil will come to Spurs?? (I am allowed to dream you know)... This link by the way, if you haven't seen it already, is one of the most insightful blogs you are ever likely to read on the world cup, or actually, football in general. Visit http://gregtheoharis.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 90.

    I thought Gyan wasn't great at all to be honest. Messi, whilst not scoring any, has still been very exciting to watch and has been pretty good. A bit confused by Iniesta and Xavi though - Spain have kept possession well, but I wouldn't describe them as that exciting this tournament to watch (unlike the Germans). Dissapointing not to see a fee defenders and keepers in there (I was impressed by Maicon, Contraeo and Enyeama)

  • Comment number 91.

    Xavi & Iniesta are like Pacino and De Niro. I find it hard to separate the two and like Sneijder and Robben they've set the tempo.

    Spain had to work hard to with their stubborn passing game against stubborn teams. To break down a team and score crucial goals and beat teams 1-0, Villa did the most important job of all that's to stick the ball in the back of the net.

    On that basis I'd give to firmly to Villa.

  • Comment number 92.

    Gotta be Forlan for me followed by Sneijder and Villa, just because of how Forlan has almost single handedly got his team to a semi final of the world cup, if only England had at least one player playing like this in SA!

  • Comment number 93.

    Not sure that any player has really dominated like in past world cups, Cruyff, Maradona, Zidane etc. Laughable to suggest that Ozil is anywhere near as good as ZZ. It would be nice to see a blog where none of the posts mentioned Manchester United or Wayne Rooney, I mean even Scholes got a mention, and he hasn't been in a World Cup since 2002.

  • Comment number 94.

    "He has shaken off his tag as a Manchester United flop."

    He did that a long time ago - only people with no knowledge of football outside the Premier League still see him in such terms.

  • Comment number 95.

    In reply to 94, I would say that he over estimates these peoples knowledge, they have no knowledge outside of Manchester United.Forlan has succeeded at World Cup level, much more so than Rooney or Christiano Ronaldo.

  • Comment number 96.

    All the players that have been mentioned are good and there are a few others that should be on that list too but at the top of it is David Villa. Spain would not have too many goals or be this far in teh competition if it were not for him

  • Comment number 97.

    I suspect most of the people saying Mueller are saying it because he scored twice against a very poor English team. He looks a decent player, but best of the tournament? Nah.

  • Comment number 98.

    It has to be Wesley Sneijder!

    Hup Holland Hup!!!

  • Comment number 99.

    For me it's Villa, Can't be Gyan after the missed Penalty, could be Forlan, I think the rest either don't merit it, or are there because they are already Famous. I mean what is Messi doing there? Ozil I suppose could still be in with a shout too. Even Snjieder is there because of the year he has had not the tournament, but he could yet, depending on the final...

  • Comment number 100.

    100th whoohoo

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.