Former Nuremberg, VfB Stuttgart and Germany striker Cacau has tipped Borussia Dortmund Marco Reus to win the adidas Golden Ball award for best player of the tournament at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
"I'm delighted that Marco Reus will finally get to play at a World Cup, and I hope he'll stay fit," Cacau, who played for Germany in South Africa in 2010, told t-online.de. "For me he's one of the best players in the world: a great dribbler, extremely quick and exceptionally good in front of goal. Reus will be the player of the tournament."
Reus missed over half of the 2017/18 season through injury, but scored seven goals in 11 Bundesliga appearances between February and May - enough to earn him a ticket to Russia. He was also Germany's standout performer in their World Cup warm-up win over Saudi Arabia last weekend, registering an assist. The game was only his 31st senior international since making his debut in October 2011.
After retired goalkeeper Oliver Kahn - who scooped the award in 2002 - Reus would become the second German in World Cup history to get his hands on the Golden Ball. Thomas Müller (2014), Lothar Matthäus (1990), Harald Schumacher (1986), and Franz Beckenbauer (1974) all won the Silver Ball - the prize given to the tournament's second-best player. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Gerd Müller and Fritz Walter were awarded the Bronze Ball in 1982, 1970 and 1954 respectively.
Germany are bidding to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to lift back-to-back World Cups.
"Brazil have improved, France have improved, Spain have improved - Argentina, too," warned head coach Joachim Löw, after Germany arrived in Moscow on Tuesday. "As the defending champions, the opposition are going to put in super-human efforts to try and beat us. It's going to take a massive effort from us to counter that."
Germany begin their World Cup defence in Group F against Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium on 17 June. Löw's charges also face Sweden in Krasnodar (23 June), before taking on South Korea in Kazan (27 June).