Lionel Messi was the source of some controversy during the closing stages of the 2014 World Cup on Sunday night, with a great competition and an engrossing final somewhat tainted by the award of the Golden Ball - traditionally given to the tournament's best player - to the Argentine maestro following his team's tense 1-0 extra-time defeat to Germany at the Maracana.
Golden Ball controversy
Usually voted for by journalists, this time the winner of the prestigious award was decided by a FIFA technical committee, who picked from a 10-man shortlist that was initially drawn up on Saturday evening.
With four important goals - nearly all of which were superb - and several flashes of genius, we are certainly not denying that Barcelona talisman Messi was a hugely important figure in ensuring that Alejandro Sabella's side progressed through a number of tight contests.
However, despite the 27-year-old's positive contributions, we cannot help but feel that there should have been several players ahead of Messi when it came to deciding just who had performed the best in Brazil.
Who did deserve to win?
While the very best praise is usually limited to the most eye-catching attacking talents, our own shortlist of players who perhaps should have received greater recognition include more than one defensive-minded player whose contributions were just as crucial as that of their more celebrated teammates.
Click 'begin slideshow' to see our list of contenders that could possibly be considered more deserving than Messi. We cannot mention everyone, of course, so feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comment box provided below.
*Please note, we are aware that the number of Man of the Match awards won by Messi was perhaps the biggest single factor in him winning the Golden Ball, but we are taking little notice of that here and prefer to judge with our own criteria.
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