Messi deserves Golden Ball, claims Sabella

Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella has claimed that Lionel Messi deserved to be awarded the FIFA Golden Ball as the outstanding player of the World Cup, BBC Sport has reported.

Messi was declared the best player at the tournament, coming out on top from a shortlist of 10 players, which also included Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez and Dutch winger Arjen Robben. His four goals helped his country finish top of Group F, and he provided the assist for Angel Di Maria to slide home the winner against Switzerland in the second round.

However, some believe he has underperformed and have criticised the award of the Golden Ball to the Barcelona star. The prize was handed out by FIFA president Sepp Blatter after Messi and his Argentina teammates had lost to Germany in the final.

And Sabella believed his captain deserved the recognition for his performances. He said: “He played a great World Cup to get us where he did.” He also stated that Messi’s efforts were a ‘fundamental factor for where we ended up’.

On his side’s defeat, midfielder Javier Mascherano added: “The pain is immense. We wanted to win this for the people of Argentina, for those who came here to support us, but we lost. We have represented our country the best we could. We have to lift our heads despite the pain. We gave everything we could out there.”

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