Rio de Janeiro: As a memorable World Cup nears the closing hours in Brazil, Fifa on Friday announced the names of ten players who are in contention to win the Adidas Golden Ball, which is awarded to the most outstanding performer of the tournament.
The shortlist was drawn up by the members of Fifa’s technical study group, who have been evaluating each and every player during the matches in Brazil.
Finalists Argentina and Germany have three and four contenders respectively in the list. Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano feature in the list, as do Mats Hummels, Tony Kroos, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller.
For the hosts, who are licking their wounds, Neymar’s inclusion in the list may prove to be the only glimmer of hope of gaining some consolation from this Cup.
Beaten semi-finalists Netherlands are represented by Arjen Robben. Colombia’s James Rodriguez did impress enough to make it to the list, even though his team did not go past the quarter-finals.
Di Maria has provided Lionel Messi with the best possible support, and has been a constant threat to the opponents with his long rangers.
Javier Mascherano has been Argentina’s pillar in defence, working tirelessly to safeguard the team’s fortunes.
And ofcourse, Lionel Messi walked into the list. Having scored his first World Cup goal here, he has remained an influential figure for his side.
Germany have reasons to feel proud. Their well-balanced team have seen four players in the short list. In defence, Mats Hummels has attracted much praise. As if that was not enough, Hummels has also impressed at the other end of the pitch, going up to score against Portugal in the group phase and head home the winner against France in the quarter-finals.Toni Kroos’s domination against Brazil highlighted the consistency of his performance in this World Cup. (Agencies)