The unforgettable magic of Zidane
© Getty Images

Some four years after ending his illustrious playing career, the magic touch and sublime artistry of Zinedine Zidane continues to set the benchmark for others to follow. You the users of will clearly never forget the silky skills of the man who almost single-handedly redefined the notion of football as art.

In our latest poll in the Classic Football section of the website, we asked you to select the greatest winner of the adidas Golden Ball from the last five FIFA World Cup™ final tournaments. The France superstar came top with an impressive 37.16 per cent of the votes. "You should always make sure you enjoy what you’re doing," the 38-year-old declared a few months ago in an exclusive interview with the official FIFA website. And there can be no question that Zizou, a FIFA World Cup winner on his home soil in 1998, spent much of his time on the field of play enjoying his football.

Diego Forlan claimed the runners-up berth on 23.72 per cent. The Uruguay talisman struck five goals as La Celeste charged to fourth spot at the 2010 finals in South Africa, finishing as the best of the South American teams. Forlan just held off the challenge of Brazil goal-getter Ronaldo, the top scorer in the history of the FIFA World Cup finals with 15 goals in all, who came third in the poll on 23.44 per cent.

A little way further back, but obviously still held in high esteem by our users, were Brazil striker Romario on 8.8 per cent and German goalkeeping giant Oliver Kahn on 6.89 per cent. "Being voted world goalkeeper of the year is a tremendous form of recognition. Then there was the title of best player at the 2002 World Cup. It hadn’t gone to a goalkeeper before me, and I’m specially proud of that,” Kahn told in a recent exclusive interview.

These players won the adidas Golden Ball at the last five FIFA World Cup final tournaments:

South Africa 2010 - Diego Forlan (URU)
Germany 2006 - Zinedine Zidane (FRA)
Korea/Japan 2002 - Oliver Kahn (GER)
France 1998 - Ronaldo (BRA)
USA 1994 - Romario (BRA)

For much more about the greatest players, clubs and derbies in the global game, visit the Classic Football section at Simply follow the link in the right-hand menu, and you’ll access a wealth of detailed background reports, exclusive interviews, fascinating statistics and our comprehensive video archive.