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).
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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?
The 10 players in the mix for the World Cup’s Golden Ball award have been announced, and there are few surprises in the running for the honor.
So who will join Diego Forlan, Zinedine Zidane, Oliver Kahn, Ronaldo, Romario, Salvatore Schillaci, Diego Maradona, Paolo Rossi and Mario Kempes as the players judged to be the best at a World Cup?
That’s three Argentines (Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano) and four Germans (Mats Hummels, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos) with token appearances from Brazil (Neymar), Colombia (James Rodriguez) and the Netherlands (Arjen Robben).
Anyone get a raw deal from the nominating committee? An argument could be made for Keylor Navas of Costa Rica, while Robin van Persie, Karim Benzema and Andre Schurrle all scored thrice and were imperative to their teams limited runs. And of course there are myriad defenders who played integral parts in their nations’ tournaments, but there have been no major slights here.