World Cup 2014: Diego Maradona says Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball because of 'marketing'

Messi handed the Golden Ball despite Argentina losing to Germany in the final

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The Independent Football

Diego Maradona has hit out at Fifa naming Lionel Messi as the World Cup's best player as a 'marketing plan'.

Messi was handed the Golden Ball after Argentina were beaten 1-0 in the final by Germany.

Despite scoring four goals in seven games in Brazil, Messi struggled at times in the tournament and struggled to have an impact in the semi-final and against Joachim Low's eventual winners.

Maradona hit out on his TV show believing the current Argentina No 10 should not have won the award.

"Messi? I would give him heaven if possible," said the 53-year-old on Telesur.

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

Maradona's comments were made as the Golden Ball is sponsored by German sportswear giant adidas, as is Messi.

Manuel Neuer, another adidas player, was handed the Golden Gloves as the best goalkeeper of the World Cup but Paul Pogba, who is sponsored by Nike, was named the best youngster.

Other players such as Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller may feel they had been more deserving of the award.

The World Cup winner also criticised Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella's decision to replace Ezequiel Lavezzi with Sergio Aguero at half-time.

Diego Maradona says Messi won it as a marketing plan by adidas

"I don't understand the substitution of Lavezzi. He was phenomenal down the wing. Kun Aguero didn't have the same impact. It was not his tournament.

"I feel sorry for my country. Mario Gotze's goal really hurt. There's a huge sadness in my heart that we lost the final.

"All things put together, I think Argentina deserved at least penalties. That Germany won was the result of a misunderstanding in the Argentine defence."