Blatter: Messi didn't deserve World Cup Golden Ball

The Swiss footballing chief said it was "incorrect" to give the Argentina forward the award in retrospect, despite his goalscoring heroics in group stage

Fifa president Sepp Blatter does not believe Lionel Messi deserved the World Cup Golden Ball award for being the best player at the tournament.

Quite a few eyebrows were raised when the Argentina forward was handed the award after his team were beaten in the final, despite having had relatively little impact compared to team-mates and opponents since the group stage - where he had unquestionably starred - had finished.

Blatter, who has said in the past that he thought Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had earned the accolade, slammed the award process only a few hours after Messi was named among the 23-man shortlist for the Fifa Ballon d'Or.

"I think the decision to give Messi the Golden Ball was incorrect," he told reporters at a press event in Moscow, Russia, as he inspected preparations for the next World Cup.

"I was surprised when I received the committee’s decision. They told me they had only looked at 10 of the players who took part in the final."

Messi has won the Ballon d'Or four times in his career, although in the past 18 months his stock has fallen somewhat, despite still being considered one of the greatest players in the world.

A silverware-free season in 2013-14 with Barcelona - aside from the Supercopa, which came longer than 12 months ago - and a failure to skipper Argentina to World Cup glory makes a Ballon d'Or 2014 victory unlikely, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben and Neuer among the more favoured.