Messi received the award for the best 2014 World Cup player minutes after his team lost 1-0 to Germany in the final.
He was selected by FIFA’s technical study group of coaching analysts. The best goalkeeper’s prize went to Gemany’s Manuel Neuer while golden boot award went to Colombia’s James Rodriguez. The best young player award went to Paul Pogba of France.
Lionel Messi’s prize did not offer him any consolation. It was like an insult, an accolade that he had no desire to either accept or celebrate.
Messi had just been named the greatest performer in the 2014 tournaments but he wanted no part of it.
Messi did not go to the World Cup to collect the Golden Ball; he went to collect the golden trophy, one that was snatched by Germany.
”At this moment, I don’t care at all about that prize, only lifting the trophy matters,” Messi said.
Messi felt the prize could have been accompanied by the trophy as was the case of Paolo Rossi who won it in 1982, Diego Maradona in 1986 and Romario in 1994.
“I think he deserves it because he played an extraordinary World Cup,” Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said. “He was a fundamental factor in the team so that we could make it all the way where we are today. … He deserved it, quite sincerely, yes.”
Messi played well on the Sunday’s final match but he wasn’t great. It was far from a fitting finish for the four-time world player of the year. It is the greatness that Messi has shown in the past that Argentina needed. Messi seemed to have run out of steam after carrying his team through group stage with four goals.
He created chances in the final Sunday but lacked the finishing touch to turn the game for Argentina.”I’m hurt for losing the way we did. We were close to penalties,” Messi said. ”I think we deserved a little better, we had chances.”
This was supposed to be his World Cup, just like the 1986 tournament belonged Diego Maradona.
“A shame we can’t offer the fans the [World Cup] trophy,” Messi said. “We leave with our head up high, we have peace of mind. I’m proud to be Argentine.”
Messi didn’t fail neither did he miss his lines. He was also not outplayed or outclassed but he was restricted, stifled, pushes, hurried and pushed into occasional error and denied space by the German team.
This was Messi’s best chance as he will be turning 30 in 2018 when the next World Cup wil be played in 2018, and by then he will most likely be a little past his peak. There will definitely be some contenders who will be snapping at his heels.
This was his best chance, not just to be one of the greats of the game, but one of its handful of all-time legends.
In the final seconds of the extra time, Messi’s last chance came. He was given a free kick, he wiped sweat from his face, took aim and sent his final shot of the World Cup well over the target.