Some players in the list may not have a FIFA World Cup trophy to their name, but they do hold some records that are worth mentioning and hold a significant place in the history of this prestigious tournament.
Some individuals shine in the game and deserve special recognition for their contribution in any given match. Even though football is a sport which needs a team effort, but some players have the ability to change the course of a match by themselves. Many great football athletes have dominated the game for this award and some have reached great heights and have cemented themselves as legends of the game. We take a look at some of the players who have the most man of the match awards in world cups coming into the 2022 World Cup at Qatar.
Arjen Robben (Netherlands) – 6 wins
The Dutch team dominated the world during the periods of 2010-2014 FIFA World Cups. It was largely due to the performances of Arjen Robben that sealed the deal for the Netherlands in both tournaments. Netherlands defied all expectations when they finished the runner ups during the 2010 iteration of the tournament as well as finishing third in 2014. Arjen Robben might have not won the world cup, but he sure has cemented his name in the history books with his breakout performances for his country.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 6 wins
Portugal had a weak team in the past and as a result, given poor performances in the FIFA World Cups. But, the man of the hour, when his country needed him the most, he has delivered every time. In the past three world cups, the Portuguese legend has been unstoppable winning six man of the match awards. One of his man of the match performances came against Spain in the world cup of 2018 in Russia when Ronaldo’s hat-trick made the score to be 3-3. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 appears to be his final one, he will be hoping to reach the number one spot beating Arjen Robben by bagging another man of the match award.
Lionel Messi (Argentina) – 6 wins
When there is Ronaldo in the history books, Lionel Messi is lurking around at the same time. The Argentinian magician will be making his final and sixth appearance for his national team at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. He has broken every record and award imaginable as a footballer, but the only trophy missing from his cabinet is the World Cup trophy. The closest time he has been to winning the trophy was in 2014 when they reached the final but lost to Germany. However, he has the joint amount of man of the match awards at the biggest event in the world, a record six times. Similar to Ronaldo, this will be Messi’s final appearance at this stage and he will be hoping to win the award again to have his name taken from number three spot to number one.
Luis Suarez (Uruguay) – 5 wins
Luis Suarez has achieved a tremendous amount during his stint at the FIFA World Cups of the past. His controversial act during the 2010 quarter-finals in South Africa sometimes overshadows to what he has achieved with the national team. Luis Suarez former Liverpool and Barcelona man has participated in three FIFA World Cups, with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 being his fourth one, he has won awards in all of them. He has successfully guided Uruguay to later stages in the competitions with his decisive goals. He has won five man of the match awards and he will be looking to cash in more awards at the 2022 World Cup.
Eden Hazard (Belgium) – 4 wins
Eden Hazard was the crown jewel of Chelsea before his lucrative move to Real Madrid. Everyone thought he would be the winger he was at Chelsea but he has been plagued with injuries which has halted his progress at Real Madrid. At Chelsea, he scored 110 goals in his 352 appearances for the club. But for Real Madrid, he has scored a disappointing 7 goals in his 72 appearances. For Belgium, Eden Hazard has been at his best form. In the 2018 edition of the Russian World Cup, Belgium lost narrowly to France resulting in third position. Eden Hazard’s ground-breaking performances for his club has made him win the man of the match awards 4 times.
James Rodriguez (Columbia) – 4 wins
James Rodriguez was a tremendous midfielder who operated in the midfield of Real Madrid and Columbia. His 2014 Brazil’s World Cup was a joy to watch as he scored six goals and won the golden boot award. Unfortunately, he will not be present in the 2022 World Cup as Columbia failed the world cup qualifications. He has won four man of the match awards during his tenure as the best Columbian player in 2014 and 2018, tied up with Eden Hazard.