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Blatter surprised by Messi award

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO - FIFA president Joseph Blatter has admitted to being surprised by the Golden Ball award to Lionel Messi as the outstanding player of the World Cup in Brazil.

"I was myself a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up for the best player of the competition," the head of football's world governing body said.

However, Blatter said consideration would have been made to how Argentina arrived in the final and the four goals scored by Messi.

"They were decisive," he said.

The choice of Messi was made by FIFA's technical study group, but FIFA media director Walter De Gregorio said consideration could be given to another method, perhaps involving journalists in a vote at the tournament.

"You can question this," he said. "It might be changed. We are open to any suggestion. Come up with a good solution if you think it is not the right one."

Diego Maradona criticised FIFA for awarding Messi the Golden Ball, calling it a "marketing plan".

"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," he said.

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

Messi was chosen ahead of Germany's Thomas Mueller, who won the Silver Ball, while other players on the shortlist included Germany captain Philipp Lahm, injured Brazil star Neymar and Colombia's James Rodriquez, the tournament top scorer. Messi, who scored all his goals in the group stage, collected the award after his side lost 1-0 to Germany in Monday's final.

In the FIFA Castrol Index published on the governing body's website, top marks went to Germany midfielder Toni Kroos ahead of Dutch winger Arjen Robben.

Messi does not appear in the top 11 chosen by Castrol which claims to have the "definitive system for rating player performance".

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