Lionel Messi has been chosen as the Golden Ball winner for the 2014 World Cup despite a losing effort against Germany in the final.
— FIFAWorldCup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 13, 2014
Messi was forced to climb the Maracana steps not once, but twice, as he then ascended the stadium to accept his medal for Argentina’s second place finish in the tournament.
Colombia’s James Rodriguez was the favourite to win the Golden Ball award, having also won the Golden Boot despite his side being knocked out in the quarter-finals.
There were also four Germany players on the final shortlist for the Golden Ball award, with unflappable captain Philipp Lahm, goal machine Thomas Muller, defensive rock Mats Hummels and midfield playmaker Toni Kroos among FIFA’s top 10 players.
But for members of the Die Mannschaft, World Cup winners medals will be consolation enough for not winning the Golden Ball.