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While the Barcelona maestro looks intent on replicating Diego Maradona in dragging the Albiceleste all the way to glory, Al Hain-Cole thinks that the Dutchman may stand in his way

Having all but carried Argentina into their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, Lionel Messi is Paddy Power’s current 13/8 (2.63) favourite to win the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament.

To win the Golden Ball

Odds from Paddy Power
Lionel Messi 13/8
Arjen Robben 7/2
James Rodriguez 4/1
David Luiz 6/1
Thomas Muller 10/1
Neymar/Manuel Neuer 16/1
Robin van Persie 20/1
No player left in the tournament has scored a higher proportion of their side’s goals in Brazil than the Barcelona man, who is responsible for exactly half of his team’s eight strikes.

Having also played a pivotal role in the Albiceleste’s two knockout victories without finding the net, it is no surprise to see Alejandro Sabella’s captain so highly fancied to win the prize.

However, Arjen Robben has been equally instrumental in Netherlands’ progression so far and will surely see his current 7/2 (4.50) odds drop should Oranje overcome the Argentines to reach a second consecutive final.

With this in mind, it is well worth backing the Bayern Munich man now before Wednesday’s semi-final, particularly as Louis van Gaal’s men have been arguably the team of the tournament until now.

Six goals in just five matches from midfield should make James Rodriguez a strong candidate at 4/1 (5.00), although the fact that the top scorer has not lifted the award since 1990 suggest that the Colombian is unlikely to receive double accolades this time.

Instead, David Luiz offers intriguing value at 6/1 (7.00) after starring in a surprisingly unflamboyant Brazil team, particularly as main man Neymar 16/1 (17.00) has been unfortunately ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

Should Germany triumph then Thomas Muller 10/1 (11.00) and Manuel Neuer 16/1 (17.00) will surely be among the front-runners, with the latter aiming to replicate Oliver Kahn’s 2002 success as the only goalkeeper to win the Golden Ball.

Meanwhile, Robin van Persie is a potential long shot at 20/1 (21.00), a price that will seem like great value should he lead Netherlands to victory at the Maracana on Sunday.

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Robben to win the World Cup Golden Ball for a 1pt stake at 7/2 (4.50) with Paddy Power

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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