According to the great Diago Maradona, Argentina forward Lionel Messi did not deserve to be awarded the “Golden Ball” as the tournament’s best player.
Messi was awarded after Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in the final on Sunday but he looked heartbroken as he went up to receive the trophy.
“I could see he didn’t want to go up and collect it,” Maradona said on his television show “de zurda,” adding that “marketing people” had made a decision he described as “unfair”.
Maradona after dragging his team to win the World Cup in 1986 had been named as the best player of the tournament but although Messi scored four decisive goals in the group stage could not hit the target in the knockout matches so as in the final.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter also expressed surprise at the choice on Monday which was made by the soccer governing body’s technical study group.
“Shall I be diplomatic or tell the truth, OK the truth…I was a bit surprised he was the choice but his goals were decisive at the start of the tournament,” Blatter told reporters at his final media briefing of the 2014 World Cup.
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, however, defends the decision in favor of his team’s captain.
“I think he did deserve it. He played an extraordinary World Cup and he was a fundamental factor to our team,” Sabella said.
While, as suggested by Maradona, the Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez should have awarded the prize after scoring six goals in the tournament. But, on the whole, the performance of Argentina team is satisfactory for Maradona.
“We raised our flag high, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“Germany won due to a misunderstanding in the defense, but at no point where they better than us. They showed us a lot of respect and our lads earned that out on the pitch.”