World Cup 2014: Sepp Blatter says he is 'surprised' Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball

Messi was named the World Cup's best player ahead of several other stars

Sepp Blatter has admitted he was surprised to see Lionel Messi awarded the prize for the best player at the World Cup.

Messi picked up the prestigious Golden Ball accolade on Sunday night shortly after Argentina had lost the World Cup final to Germany.

Messi scored four goals in the group stages, but, other than a strong first-half showing against Belgium, the Barcelona star failed to live up to his billing in the knockout phase.

The Argentina captain missed a good chance to win the final in the Maracana in the second half, dragging his shot wide when through on goal.

And Fifa, president Blatter conceded he was surprised to see Fifa,s technical study group had given the Argentina skipper the prize.

"I was myself a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up to collect the best player of competition," said the head of Fifa, who was handing out the awards in the stadium after the match.

Holland's Arjen Robben, Colombia striker James Rodriguez and now World Cup winner Thomas Muller were among the front-runners for the award.

Blatter believes it was Messi's magic early on in the tournament, when he scored crucial goals against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, that led the committee to pick Messi as their star man.

"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)," Blatter added.

Diego Maradona won the same accolade as Messi in 1986, but, unlike his compatriot, he left the tournament with a World Cup winners' medal around his neck.

The outspoken former Argentina skipper feels Messi did not deserve to win the award.

"I would give heaven and earth to Leo, but when marketing people want him to win something he didn't (deserve to) win, it is unfair," Maradona said. Sepp Blatter takes his seat for the World Cup final along with Vladimir Putin Fifa president Sepp Blatter (alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin) admitted he was 'surprised' Messi was handed the Golden Ball

"I could see that he didn't want to go up and collect it (the award)."

Maradona was right, Messi could not have cared less about winning the Golden Ball - he admitted as much after the match.

"In these moments, the prize doesn't interest me at all," Messi said a few minutes after Mario Gotze's 113th-minute winner which decided the final in Germany's favour.

"We wanted to take home the trophy and enjoy it with all the people in Argentina.

"It's very painful to lose in the manner that we did because we were so close to penalties."

Messi was not the only man to miss a good chance in the Maracana on Sunday.

Gonzalo Higuain missed an easier opportunity in the first half and in extra-time Rodrigo Palacio nodded wide when through.

Messi wishes either he or one of his team-mates had found the net.

"They had more of the ball, but we had the better chances," he said.

"I think that at the end we didn't get the luck that we needed. The chances we created were clear.

"We had three clear ones - mine, the one of Higuain and Rodrigo, but we could not finish them. Now we have to move on." Thomas Muller may have been a more deserving recipient

Javier Mascherano admitted immediately after the match that he felt "immense pain".

But, after being given a few minutes to reflect on Argentina's first run to the final in 24 years, the Barcelona midfielder was a little more upbeat.

"We are out, but everything that we have been through in the last 34 days will help us keep growing," Mascherano said.

"As a group we are a unit, we are unstoppable and we have shown that.

"We were at a low but we ended up playing a World Cup final against Germany and we had a real chance of winning.

"The players have grown, they have developed out here. We all fought with our heart and we were just five minutes short. It will be hard for us to pick ourselves up after this. It's a big blow because we had it in the palm of our hands, but it's been a great World Cup."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash