Lionel Messi wins Golden Ball

  • Last Updated: July 14 2014, 7:49 BST

Lionel Messi gained some small consolation for Argentina’s defeat to Germany in the World Cup final when he was awarded the Golden Ball award as player of the tournament.

Manuel Neuer and Lionel Messi with their awards
Manuel Neuer and Lionel Messi with their awards

The Barcelona forward played a key role in Argentina's march to the final at the Maracana in Rio, picking up four man-of-the-match awards.

He scored four goals at the tournament, but failed to pick up the one honour eluding him after Germany substitute Mario Goetze's 113th-minute goal dashed the South Americans' dream of a third title.

Messi missed a glorious chance for Argentina in the showpiece at the Maracana but coach Alejandro Sabella said he was a deserving winner of the award.

"He deserves it because he played an extraordinary World Cup," said Sabella. "He was a fundamental factor in the team making it to the final, along with everything done by his other team-mates.

"The World Cup is a highly demanding tournament and as for his reputation, he is in that pantheon among the greats. But he was there before - he has been there for quite some time."

Manuel Neuer kept a clean sheet for Germany in the final and he was rewarded for a number of fine performances in Brazil with the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper of the tournament.

Colombia's young striker James Rodriguez claimed the Golden Boot for the World Cup's top scorer honours with six goals.                 

Despite his country going out at the quarter-final stage, the 23-year-old's haul was never matched.               

Germany's Thomas Muller ended up in second place with five goals, while Messi, injured Brazil star Neymar and Netherlands striker Robin van Persie shared third spot on four.

The Young Player award went to France midfielder Paul Pogba.