The Croatia captain and the Golden Ball winner showed his qualities in every round, playing a vital role in his country’s maiden World Cup final appearance. He combined his wonderful playmaking ability with some tireless running — he ran a longer distance than every other player in the World Cup and spent the most time on the pitch — playing in varying midfield roles throughout the tournament to suit his team’s tactics. Kante combined his defensive acumen with some exceptional positional play to help France to its second World Cup title. He was vital to his side’s success, providing a defensive shield for his centrebacks while giving the more illustrious Paul Pogba room to pull the strings in the midfield. Truly one of the best midfielders of the modern game. The Belgium captain was at the top of his game throughout the tournament, leading by example. His stats — three goals and two assists — do no justice to the finesse that Hazard brings to the game. In a tournament where the Ballon d’or duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi failed to guide their teams beyond the round of 16, Hazard stood out as a worthy successor.