Muller, not Messi, should have got Golden Ball

Is Messi asking himself 'Did I deserve this Golden Ball honour?'
Rio de Janeiro, July 14: Did Lionel Messi deserve the Golden Ball award at the FIFA World Cup 2014? Certainly not is the opinion of many fans. Argentine legend Diego Maradona too thinks the same way.

World Cup Special

Well, yes they all are right.

Last night at the Maracana stadium, after the final whistle was blown and German players broke into celebrations, it was time for individual honours to be announced.

When Messi was chosen for Golden Ball, fans at the venue and millions watching on TV were surprised.

Ahead of the final, FIFA Technical Study Group, headed by Jean-Paul Brigger, listed 10 names for the Golden Ball honour.

Among the 10 were four from Germany who featured in the final on Sunday. Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos and captain Philipp Lahm was the quartet. Also in the shortlist was Netherlands' Arjen Robben and highest goal-scorer (6) James Rodriguez of Colombia, who later won the Golden Boot.

Messi had a fantastic opening to the tournament in the group stages but he was not the same in the later stages. The Argentine captain scored four goals in the tournament (all during group phase).

In the Round of 16, Quarter-finals, Semi-finals and the final, Messi was not at his best. Messi's father Jorge said the Barcelona forward was "exhausted".

"He is exhausted and feels as if his legs weigh 100 kilos each," Jorge had said.

But despite this, Messi managed to play the full 120 minutes in the final. He did not create many opportunities for himself or the team.

The decision to award Golden Ball became controversial as, for the first time, FIFA Technical Study Group picked the winner rather than by a media vote.

"Messi? I would give him heaven if possible," Maradona was quoted as saying.

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

Many agreed it was in commercial interests that FIFA had picked Messi. The Argentine is an ambassador for Golden Ball and FIFA sponsor Adidas. This could have played a part on the jury.

If at all there was a deserving winner of Golden Ball, among other favourites, it was Muller. The German scored five goals and played a big part in title triumph.

Muller ran nearly 84 kilometres throughout the tournament. His mark was the highest for a player in this edition of the World Cup. He came very close to taking the Golden Boot but missed by one goal. The number 13 player featured in all games and was a big threat to the opposition.

The debate over Golden Ball might continue for few days.

Here are some of the Tweets from fans

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