Diego Maradona thinks FIFA awarded the World Cup Golden Ball to Lionel Messi as part of a ‘marketing plan’

Manuel Neuer of Germany holds the Golden Glove trophy and Lionel Messi of Argentina holds the Golden Ball trophy. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Although it’s hard to imagine an illustrious organization like FIFA having ulterior motives (#sarcasm), Argentine football legend Diego Maradona is accusing the association of awarding the World Cup’s coveted “Golden Ball” award to Lionel Messi for marketing reasons. Maradona said on his television show on Telesur (via The Guardian):

“Messi? I would give him heaven if possible. But it’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.”

The Golden Ball award, which is meant to go to the best player in the World Cup, is sponsored by Adidas. So is Messi. The player, who’s often hailed as the greatest of all time, has a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal with the sports apparel company.

Besides Maradona, many soccer fans also seemed suspicious of the award, which Messi was less than thrilled to receive, telling the Spanish newspaper AS (via The Guardian), “Right now I don’t care about the prize.”

What do you think? Did Messi, who scored four goals in the tournament’s group rounds, deserve the Golden Ball, or do you agree with Maradona and think FIFA gave the Adidas-sponsored award to him for marketing reasons?

[polldaddy poll=8184448]

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Next Story
Cindy Boren · July 14, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.