Maradona calls Messi’s Golden Ball award “unfair”

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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 ]

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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?