Diego Maradona: Lionel Messi Does Not Deserve Golden Ball

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By Vincent Paul Hidalgo | July 15, 2014 4:03 PM EST

The pain and criticism does not stop for Lionel Messi. Just a day removed from bowing to Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Messi gains another staunch critic of his selection as the best player of the tournament or the recipient of the Golden Ball. This comes no less from fellow Argentine and football legend Diego Maradona.

REUTERS
Argentina fans wear masks of former Argentine soccer players Diego Maradona and Sebastian Veron (L) during their 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match against Nigeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 25, 2014.

CBS sports reports that the Argentine icon expressed his opinion that Messi's showing did not warrant recognition from the media and the voters of the award. Rather, he view the achievement as a public and commercial posture.

"I would give him heaven if possible," Maradona said during his show on Telesur. "But it's not right when someone wins something that he shouldn't have won just because of some marketing plan."

The winner of the Golden Ball when Argentina won the World Cup criticized FIFA for rewarding Messi over the likes of Arjen Robinson, James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller. Whiel Messi scored four goals during the tournament, most of them were during the group stages, and he did not have an impact in the final game.

Even Sepp Blatter, FIFA President, shared his surprise with the naming of Messi as the recipient of the award. He opined that the display of Messi during the early stages of the tournament must have swayed the committee to award him the Golden Ball.

The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, admitted he had not expected Messi to receive the award. "I was myself a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up to collect the best player of competition," he said. "If you compare the beginning of the tournament and why finally the Argentina team got into the final, they were decisive and I think it was a decision [based on that]," he said.

Apart from criticizing the choice of Messi, Maradona also put his thought on the move of Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella's decision to put in Ezequiel Lavezzi for Sergio Aguero at halftime of the Germany match. The Argentine legend thought that Lavezzi was phenomenal in the wing and that Aguero was not having his usual impact in the game, thus the replacement bothered him.

Messi himself was visibly disappointed in receiving the award and afterwards shared his thoughts with a Spanish newspaper.

"Right now I don't care about the prize. I don't care about anything. I wanted to take Argentina to the World Cup for all the people," Messi told the Spanish newspaper AS.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Stefano Rellandini)
Argentina fans wear masks of former Argentine soccer players Diego Maradona and Sebastian Veron (L) during their 2014 World Cup Group F soccer match against Nigeria at the Beira Rio stadium in Porto Alegre June 25, 2014.
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