Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Messi gets Golden Ball backing

21 July 2014, 06:28

Johannesburg - Former Liverpool manager, Gerard Houllier, has defended FIFA’s controversial decision to name Lionel Messi the best player at the Soccer World Cup and explains why Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez and Thomas Muller were snubbed, reports Soccer-Laduma's website

There was a global outcry from media, fans and experts after Messi was given the Golden Ball following the defeat of Argentina in the World Cup final.

Diego Maradona and even Sepp Blatter were among the surprised critics, but Houllier, who is a respected member of the FIFA Technical Study Group, has now defended the decision.

"I understand that it has surprised, because everyone only remembers the second half of Lionel Messi in the final," he told Le Monde.

"We, the commission, we look at all the games, and we judge that he was the most important man for his team. He went to the final, which is one of the conditions for the attribution of the trophy.

"Moreover, Messi was more than decisive in the first four games. In the semi-final against the Netherlands, he took the first penalty and scored.

“The analysis also takes into account the fact he was the captain of a united team. A team that played well together. That's something we hadn't seen for a long time from Argentina.

“He was more than key in the squad and the way it was set up. For me, he fully deserves the Golden Ball given he took his team through to the final."

Houllier also explained why fan favourites Arjen Robben and James Rodriguez never really stood a chance and that Thomas Muller had pushed Messi for the prestigious award.

"Robben was exciting and very good, but he didn't carry so much weight with the team. He didn't score in either the semi-finals or the quarters. Even though he won the penalty against Mexico, he was much less influential in his team's play,” he added.

"James Rodriguez stopped too soon, just like Neymar or the other key player in the Albiceleste's performance, Angel Di Maria. Di Maria might have been a very serious contender had he been able to go all the way. He was excellent, and very creative."

“There was a competition between Muller and Messi, but I repeat, we looked at all seven matches. The final counted, but only at the same level as the other games.

"Given the whole of the World Cup, the commission was unanimous that Lionel Messi win the trophy. I think public option was 'biased' by the anti-Messi strategies of opposing teams, which caused him a lot of problems. Despite that, he almost always managed to get himself out of them. But everyone is entitled to their opinion."

Previously the result of a poll between the world’s press and FIFA’s Technical Study Group decided on the Golden Ball winner, while Messi’s win was the consequence of analysis by the latter body solely after football’s world governing body changed the voting process for the tournament in Brazil.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...