14 July 2014 01:19
Captain Lionel Messi took home the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball despite Argentina’s 1-0 final loss to Germany.
The Barcelona forward netted four times as Argentina topped Group F in Brazil and held off Colombia’s James Rodriguez – the competition’s top scorer – among others to claim the player of the tournament award, despite his form tailing off during the closing rounds.
Messi’s compatriots Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria were nominated for the accolade, along with Netherlands winger Arjen Robben, Rodriguez and four members of Germany’s triumphant squad: Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos.
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said: “Messi played a great World Cup. He was absolutely fundamental to us getting where he did. He deserves any award.”
Germany’s Manuel Neuer added the Golden Glove gong to his winner’s medal as the Bayern Munich number one was named the best goalkeeper in the competition.
France’s Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba was crowned best young player.