Messi claims Golden Ball award after World Cup loss to Germany
Lionel Messi gained some small consolation for Argentina's defeat to Germany in the World Cup final when he was named the Golden Ball player of the tournament.
The Barcelona forward played a key role in Argentina's march to the final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, picking up four man-of-the-match awards.
He scored four goals at the tournament, but failed to pick up the one honor eluding him after Germany substitute Mario Goetze's 113th-minute goal dashed the South Americans' dream of a third title. Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer kept a clean sheet 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.
Speaking in the immediate aftermath of victory Neuer said: "It is unbelievable. The team has done superbly, not only the players, but also the team behind the team. At some point we will stop celebrating, but we will always stand up again with a smile." Colombia's young striker James Rodriguez claimed the Golden Boot for the World Cup's top scorer honors 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.