Jul 13, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT
He’s the best player in the world. But in the 2014 World Cup, he wasn’t even the best player on his team.
And yet FIFA recognized him as the best player in the tournament.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball, FIFA’s award for the Player of the Tournament. Which, quite frankly, is an utter disgrace.
Messi scored four goals, but none in the knockout stages. He assisted just one score, and Argentina scored just one goal in their final three matches.
It doesn’t matter if it’s his fault or not (it’s not, he was often triple-teamed by opposition defenses). There were oodles of players better than Messi this tournament.
Starting with his own team, there’s Javier Mascherano. The Argentinian midfielder was brilliant, making hero tackles and distributing out of the back, and was a major reason why Argentina never trailed the entire World Cup before Gotze’s goal, and hadn’t conceded at the back in around 500 minutes before Germany took the lead.
In fact, you could argue Angel Di Maria was more important to Argentina this tournament, evident by their inability to produce chances once he departed with injury.
Then there’s Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, and Sami Khedira from the eventual winners, plus Arjen Robben, Neymar, and Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez, plus the gobs of outstanding goalkeeping performances to pick from, including those by Manuel Neuer (the Golden Glove winner), Keylor Navas, and Sergio Romero.
Nonetheless, the Barcelona legend will add yet another award to his trophy case, deserved or not.
His manager even made excuses for his poor performance after the match:
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