Diego Maradona and Sepp Blatter are surprised by Lionel Messi’s golden ball award, while media reports suggest Brazil have sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Lionel Messi was awarded the golden ball despite Argentina’s defeat against Germany in the final and this decision has been questioned by Diego Maradona and Sepp Blatter.
Argentina’s poor record against Germany in the World Cup continued as they lost the final courtesy of a late goal from Mario Gotze, which handed the European nation their fourth World Cup title. Lionel Messi, as usual, carried a lot of expectations on his shoulder to deliver on the grandest stage of them all, but the Barcelona star failed to replicate Diego Maradona’s achievement in 1986.
Messi started the tournament in fine form as he scored crucial goals against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria to take Argentina through to the knock-out rounds almost single handedly. But the 27-year-old failed to maintain his goal scoring record in the following matches and is yet to score a goal in the knockout rounds of this competition. Messi ended the tournament with four goals and an assist in seven matches.
Despite the defeat in the final, Messi was awarded the golden ball to everyone’s surprise. Colombian star James Rodriguez, Dutch winger Arjen Robben and German forward Thomas Mueller arguably produced more consistent performance than the Argentine international and the decision to label Messi as the player of the tournament has been questioned.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter expressed his surprise at this decision and believes it must have been decided based on Messi’s heroics in the group stages.
“I was myself a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up to collect the best player of the competition.
“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 said.
Meanwhile, Argentina legend Diego Maradona, who has publicly been one of Messi’s biggest supporters, also questioned the award and labelled it as a marketing stance.
“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.
“I could see that he didn’t want to go up and collect it (the award).” – Maradona said.
Meanwhile, Brazil have sacked their manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, according to media reports. Scolari’s future at the job came under immense speculations following Brazil’s humiliating defeat at the hands of eventual champions Germany. The host nation followed that up with another uninspiring performance against Netherlands in the third place play-off and most expected Scolari to be removed from the job.
According to media reports in Brazil, CBF have decided against renewing Scolari’s contract and are expected to make an official announcement soon. Sao Paulo manager Muricy Ramalho and former Corinthians manager Tite are believed to be the front runners to replace Scolari at the helm.