Lionel Messi won the World Cup Golden Ball, but did he deserve it?

Fifa surprised everyone when four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball last night. Even Diego Maradona criticised Fifa for awarding Argentina’s Lionel Messi the Golden Ball award for the World Cup’s best player and labelled it as a “marketing plan”.

“Messi? I would give him heaven if possible,” the 1986 World Cup winner said on his television show on Telesur. “But it’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.”

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella thinks Messi deserved to win the Golden ball and he played a crucial role in taking Argentina to the finals.

Sabella said Messi’s award was “very deserved”, adding: “He played a great World Cup to get us where he did.”

A lot of us will argue if Messi was the best player in the tournament? Was he even the best player in the Argentina team? Was Mascherano Argentina’s true hero? Did he deserve it ahead of James Rodriguez, Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben, Mat Hummels and Thomas Muller? Did he won just because of his name and reputation?

Lionel Messi scored four goals in the group stages, but failed to find the net in the last four games of the tournament. The Barcelona star had a good World Cup, but handing him the Golden Ball looked like a bizarre decision.

Players who deserved it more than Lionel Messi:

1) James Rodriguez

The Colombian and AS Monaco rising star scored six goals in five games in the tournament and won the Golden boot award. He scored twice against Uruguay to knock them out of the World Cup and had a brilliant game against Brazil.

2) Thomas Muller

Muller played a crucial part in Germany’s World Cup win. He found the net five times and scored a hat-trick against Portugal.

3) Javier Mascherano

Mascherano made the most number of tackles in the World Cup. He was a beast in the middle of the park for Argentina hardly allowing opponents to go past him.

4) Manuel Neuer

Neuer made few top saves in the World Cup and played like a perfect sweeper-keeper. When Germany maintained a high line he came out to make few clean tackles.

5) Arjen Robben

The Netherlands forward terrorised defenders in the World Cup. Robben scored thrice in the World Cup and helped Netherlands to finish third.


Oliver Holt of The Mirror labelled it as a joke and explained why Mascherano deserved it more than Messi.

“Forget Messi’s award as player of the tournament. That is a bad joke. He is a dream of a player but he has not been the player of this tournament.That accolade belongs to Mascherano, who played like a super-human at times yesterday. You want a reason why everyone knew Argentina would not fold yesterday as Brazil did in the semi-final? Just look at Mascherano. The ex-Liverpool player is a fearsome competitor, the best in the business in the defensive midfield position he occupied yesterday. He is there for his ability and for his spirit and yesterday he was the best player on the pitch by a distance. It wasn’t just that he broke up move after move as Germany pressed forward with a series of perfectly-timed interventions. It wasn’t just that he was the snapping, snarling, unyielding heart of this Argentina team. He played some of the best passes of the game, too, including one delicate second half chip to Higuain that may have resulted in a goal if Higuain had not strayed marginally offside.”

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand said on the BBC: ‘I would have gone with James Rodriguez. He has played that exciting, attacking football and he has been trying to hurt the opposition. Messi has had some magic moments but you want them consistently.’ 

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen thinks four or five Germans had a better tournament than Lionel Messi.

‘I didn’t think Messi has done enough. Four or five of the Germans have played better over the tournament.’   

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Who do you think deserved to win the Golden Ball?
James Rodriguez
Arjen Robben
Manuel Neuer
Javier Mascherano
Thomas Muller
Lionel Messi

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