Talk about insult added to injury.
Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona said that fellow countryman Lionel Messi did not deserve to win the Golden Ball, the award given for the best player at the World Cup.
Messi — considered by many to be the best soccer player in the world for the last several years — was given the honor just moments after Argentina lost on Sunday in the World Cup final to Germany 1-0 on Mario Gotze’s late score in extra time in Brazil.
“Messi? I would give him heaven if possible,” Maradona told Latin American television station Telesur. “But it’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.”
Messi scored four goals in seven matches this World Cup, but couldn’t quite carry Argentina past the Germans in the final.
He was given the Golden Ball ahead of such players as Colombia’s James Rodriguez, Germany’s Thomas Muller and the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben.
Maradona, who was awarded the Golden Ball after leading Argentina to the World Cup championship in 1986 with a win over Germany in the final, said Colombia’s Rodriguez was his choice for the award for this Cup.
Rodriguez was in fact the Golden Boot winner (most goals) for his six goals in the tournament. Muller scored five overall.
Maybe Messi agreed with Maradona. Or maybe he did not care.
Messi was clearly dejected after Sunday’s heartbreaking loss and later told the Spanish newspaper AS: “Right now I don’t care about the prize. I don’t care about anything. I wanted to take Argentina to the World Cup for all the people.”
Maradona knew, of course, Messi was dejected: “I could see that he didn’t want to go up and collect it.”