• World Cup

Maradona hits out at Messi award

ESPN staff
July 14, 2014
Argentina fans woe as capital reacts

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has hit out at FIFA's decision to award the Golden Ball accolade for the best player of the World Cup to Lionel Messi.

Messi, who missed a good chance as Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in the final, was presented with the award after the match.

The selection put him ahead of players such as Colombia's James Rodriguez, who also won the Golden Boot award, Germany's Thomas Mueller and the Netherlands' Arjen Robben.

Goetze proved he is better than Messi - Loew

  • Joachim Loew says Mario Goetze proved he is better than Lionel Messi after coming off the bench to score Germany's extra-time winner against Argentina in the World Cup final.
  • The match was billed as Messi's chance to stake his claim to being the greatest ever player by winning the tournament and thus emulating fellow Argentine Diego Maradona and Brazil's Pele.
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However, Maradona said that despite four goals in Argentina's seven matches, Messi had not been the player of the tournament and his selection as Golden Ball winner was "a marketing plan."

"Messi? I would give him heaven if possible," Maradona told pan-Latin American TV channel Telesur.

"It's not right when someone wins something that he shouldn't have won just because of some marketing plan."

Messi said the award "means very little to me at this moment" and added: "It is a pity not to go home with the cup, but we go home with our heads high. We can return calm from this World Cup.

"It's very painful to lose the way we did, because we were near penalties. We had three clear chances - mine, Gonzalo Higuain's and Rodrigo Palacio's - but we couldn't get it. Now we have to move forward."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he did not expect Messi to receive the award: "What do you want - shall I tell the truth or be diplomatic? I am going to say the truth, I was surprised that he was chosen and [surprised] to see him come up to get the award."

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