There has been a lot of talk since the World Cup Final finished as to whether or not Leo Messi was a deserved winner of the Golden Ball, denoting him as the best player at the World Cup.
It’s a debate that conspiracy theorists claim should end when people are made aware of the fact that the winner of the award is chosen in part by Adidas, who also happen to sponsor Leo Messi.
That could be considered a cynical way of looking at it, but when you think about the performances put in by the likes of Neuer, Muller, Robben and Rodriguez throughout the tournament, it is difficult to disregard the conspiracy theorists altogether. It is a debate that could run and run, but it won’t change the outcome.
More irritating as far as I am concerned, are the preposterous claims that Messi can't be talked about in the same conversation as Pele, Maradona and Zidane when it comes to the Greatest of All-Time, because ultimately he's failed to deliver a World Cup victory for Argentina . Now Zidane is probably my favourite player of all time but if the margins for such unequivocal greatness is scoring two headed goals in the Final of a World Cup when he hadn't scored previously in that competition, it just shows how silly the qualifying criteria is.
Maradona was fantastic in 1986, there is no denying that, and it is often said that he single-handedly won that World Cup for Argentina . I find that a little harsh on his team-mates, many of whom were wonderful players in their own right. He is rightly considered one of, if not the greatest of all time.
But does a player really have to win a World Cup to be the greatest? What if Pele had been born in Canada or Papua New Guinea , and played international football for Canada . He may never have got the opportunity to play in a World Cup, let alone win one. Would it change his ability as a football player? Would it make him any less of a talent? It seems ridiculous to me that to be considered the greatest player of all time, you need first to be fortunate enough to be born possessed of the nationality of a country that stands a realistic chance of World Cup victory.