Golden Ball


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.

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