The Barcelona ace finished on the losing side in Sunday's tournament decider in Rio de Janeiro but was nonetheless recognized for his individual excellence in Brazil.RIO DE JANEIRO — Lionel Messi won the Golden Ball following his inspirational performances for Argentina at World Cup 2014.
The Barcelona attacker was on the losing side in Sunday's tournament decider, with the Albiceleste going down 1-0 to Germany after extra time.
However, Messi has been rewarded for carrying his side to the final, with the 27-year-old having racked up four goals and one assist in seven appearances.
In claiming the prestigious prize, Messi emulates the achievement of the man with whom he is so often compared, compatriot Diego Maradona, who skippered the Albiceleste to success in Mexico in 1986.
Messi is the third Argentine to receive the Golden Ball, with Mario Kempes having become the inaugural winner in 1978 on the back of his sensational goalscoring exploits during the country's victorious campaign on home soil.
Meanwhile, Germany's sweeper-keeper Manuel Neuer beat off competition from fellow finalist Sergio Romero, of Argentina, and Costa Rica shot-stopper Keylor Navas for the Golden Glove.