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Lionel Messi wins the 2014 World Cup Golden Ball award, which makes no sense

Jul 13, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT

MessiGoldenBall Getty Images

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:

  1. Greg - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Consolation prize, nothing more

    • elemeno89 - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      Could probably guarantee that Klose would have won it had the outcome been the other way around.

  2. andynormile - Jul 13, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Travesty. James Rodriquez was the best player in the tournament, just shows FIFA are a bunch of complete idiots who know nothing about soccer.

  3. kellybeck15 - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    More idiocy from soccer’s international governing body. I’m really getting tired of saying that sentence, by the way….

  4. httv14 - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    I personally would have chosen Robben as the player of the tournament, but Messi was still deserving, as he created the most chances of any player in the tournament. Definitely had a forgettable performance in the final, but was brilliant in his first four games and had an underrated performance against Netherlands. No doubt, he carried his team to the final, and that is definitely worthy of the Golden Ball. Of course, many other deserving players as well, but that is what the World Cup is about, the best players playing at the greatest stage.

    • Greg - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Messi was still deserving, as he created the most chances of any player in the tournament

      1?

      James Rodriguez was clearly the best player by a country mile. If you’re suggesting Messi was more deserving than him then you’ll need to put up a fairly convincing argument

    • httv14 - Jul 13, 2014 at 8:04 PM

      The part that you quoted is one piece of evidence that you could use. Messi created many more chances than James and completed more of his passes in general. Messi also had more successful take-ons. Finally, Messi’s team advanced further, though he was surrounded by more talent. I am not saying that James does not have a good case, but that Messi is deserving. I recognize that James scored in every game and converted a far higher percentage of his chances. James was very good, but so were many other players.

  5. philliephaninva - Jul 13, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    FIFA = French Idiots Fornicating Athletics.

  6. Gabbo - Jul 13, 2014 at 8:27 PM

    James or Robben should have won the Golden Ball over Messi. Heads/shoulders way better than Messi this tourney

  7. nodindenver - Jul 13, 2014 at 9:36 PM

    Columbia made it to the quarterfinals because of James, Argentina would have made it to the quarterfinals without Messi. Robben was much more electric than Messi. Consolation prize!

  8. sportsbastard - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:41 AM

    Thomas Muller… anyone?

  9. espy70 - Jul 14, 2014 at 9:20 AM

    Just another example of the joke that is FIFA

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