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Maradona calls Messi’s Golden Ball award “unfair”

Jul 14, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

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Argentina legend Diego Maradona would “give Heaven and Earth” to Lionel Messi, but he wouldn’t have presented the striker with the World Cup’s Golden Ball award.

Speaking on his World Cup¬†television program, Maradona questioned the legitimacy of giving the tournament’s top player honors to his countryman. He instead advocated for Colombia’s James Rodriguez.

Messi scored four goals in the World Cup, but had just one assist in three knockout round games (though it was a fantastic assist).

[ MORE: Lionel Messi’s legacy still bright, but not brilliant, after World Cup final loss ]

[ MORE: Lionel Messi wins the Golden Ball, which makes no sense ]

From the BBC:

“I could see that he didn’t want to go up and collect it [the award],” said Maradona, who was named the best player when Argentina won the World Cup in 1986.

“I would give heaven and earth to Leo,” Maradona said.¬†“But when marketing people want him to win something he didn’t [deserve to] win, it is unfair.”

Messi and Javier Mascherano were the main reasons Argentina got as far as they did, and perhaps Argentina’s lack of star power helped push Messi over the top. But Rodriguez’s claims to the award are legit, and several other players worked the tournament well.

Are you offended by Messi taking the award home?

  1. lunasceiling - Jul 14, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Obvious consolation prize is obvious…

  2. gor3hound - Jul 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    I really enjoyed watching Rodriguez, but Colombia didn’t make it over a weak Brazilian team, still think there were at least 3 German players who deserved more than Messi.

  3. northeastsoccercoach - Jul 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Why are we giving Maradona any media oxygen?

    • drewsylvania - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      By the same token, why are we telling Messi he was the best player in the tournament, which is obviously false?

    • chicago240 - Jul 15, 2014 at 9:01 AM

      The media love to start fights. They would love for Messi to say something nasty about Maradona. Tried to provoke it for years as Maradona won’t shut up. Messi’s the better man though.

  4. egb234 - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    First Point: I agree that Messi got the award because of his name. I think I give him more credit than some people (his assist against Switzerland was beautiful; the Belgium game plan after the Higuain goal hampered any creativity; Netherlands had 4-6 guys around him and he didn’t get any help on the outside; i.e., he wasn’t BAD), and I don’t think any specific individual was clearly snubbed, I think it felt awkward giving him the award.

    Second Point: I think we’re over-doing it because no individual CLEARLY earned the trophy. Muller was great but, like Messi, was better in the group. Rodriguez (my pick) was shut down in the quarters (other than a pen, right? not sure) by a bad defense. Neuer is a goalie. Robben dives. Gotze was terrible before he was good. Who else? I think Messi is an easy target because he didn’t produce in the final.

    Third Point: Maradona is the worst. His legacy is a myth–largely a product of Argentina desperately seeking an answer to their bitter rival Brazil’s claim to greatness–Pele. Look at their stats. Compare Maradona’s career to Messi, let alone Pele. There’s no comparison. Maradona never scored in a final. His phenomenal goal against England in 1986 never would have happened if he had been disciplined for the hand ball on La Mano de Dios goal. He admitted to cheating on several occasions. His comments here are perfectly relevant because it is an Argentine star talking about an Argentine star, but every time I hear him quoted I just roll my eyes. A true Lilluputian among men.

    • thefutureofoil - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:17 PM

      All true, but Messi wasn’t even the best player on his team in this tournament. Mascherano was. Messi is a very good player, but this best ever stuff is nonsense. Any forward playing with Xavi and Inesta in their primes is going to look great. Don’t get me wrong. Messi is a huge talent, but he is hardly the best ever. He’s just the best NOW. In five years, there will be someone else the media is claiming is the “best ever” and so on.

  5. sw19womble - Jul 14, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    FIFA just showing everyone how out-of-touch they are with reality, as usual.

    Even Maradona could see this was a marketing ploy.

  6. 8to80texansblog - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Yeah…. Player of the tournament is either Muller or Rodriguez and since Rodriguez scored the most goals AND maybe had the goal of the tourney….my vote is James Rodriguez. He scored in every game he played….

  7. andynormile - Jul 14, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Isn’t the Golden Ball sponsored by Adidas, who also have a certain L Messi as one of their clients ??

    • Skulb - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:38 AM

      Yes indeed. Nothing to see here folks, move along!

  8. jhnyr45 - Jul 14, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Schweinsteiger in my opinion deserved it. he is the heart and soul of the german squad…. He is the real captain of the team, even though lahm wears the armband…. Just look at the 2nd half of that game, he kept getting fouled, and got cut under the eye and he comes back out and helps the team win.

    • Skulb - Jul 15, 2014 at 7:40 AM

      MoM maybe but he barely played at the start of the tournament. You can`t give someone player of the tournament after three of seven matches. But even that would have been better than giving it to Lionel Adidas.

  9. brookwell2013 - Jul 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM


  10. sportsfan69 - Jul 14, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    I’m sorry the level of competition for Columbia verses Germany wasn/t even close. Mueller, Kroos, or even Schurrle were more worthy of the Golden Boot. James Rodriquez is a very good player, but Rodriquez not in the same class as the German players. Germany was in the group of death. Columbia played in one the easiest groups, Group C – Japan, Greece, and Cote d”lvoire. Once James Rodriquez exposed to real tough competition, he faltered.

  11. chargrz - Jul 14, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Maradona= Scumbag Deluxo

    • thefutureofoil - Jul 14, 2014 at 10:19 PM

      Absolutely, but he is right every blue moon or so. This is one occasion.

      You also forgot “jealous” as he’s clearly jealous of Messi.

    • gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Perhaps, but he’s also the greatest player of all time.

  12. chicago240 - Jul 15, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    My #1 reason for wanting Argentina to win this year was to shut up Maradona. I think all the years of drugs and people buying his drinks has him scared he will be forgotten. Fact: Maradona was an awesome soccer player. His highlight reel is something to behold. Fact: Messi’s highlight reel is equally awesome. I felt sorry for his opponents this World Cup when there were only two of them in front of Messi cause you knew he was going through both of them like they weren’t there. Wouldn’t it be great if Maradona could embrace his countryman to join him on the podium of greatness rather than constantly trying to tear him down to lift himself up. Diego was a great soccer player and a pretty pitiful human.

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