Messi wins Golden Ball, Rodriguez claims Golden Boot


The Sports Network

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ( - Lionel Messi fell short in his bid to capture the World Cup, but he still managed to leave Brazil with another accolade as the Argentina star won the Golden Ball, given to the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

Messi led his side to the final by netting four goals and assisting on another as Argentina returned to the game's biggest stage for the first time since 1990.

The Barcelona man scored a goal against Bosnia-Herzegovina in the opening match of a 2-1 victory before scoring in the dying moments in Argentina's second match to rescue a 1-0 win over Iran.

He scored two goals in the group-stage finale against Nigeria to propel his team to a 3-2 win and then set up the only goal in extra time against Switzerland to lead his side into the quarterfinals.

Germany's Thomas Muller finished second in the voting for the Golden Ball, while Dutch winger Arjen Robben was third after helping his team to a third- place finish.

Colombia's James Rodriguez enjoyed a breakout performance in Brazil as he captured the Golden Boot as the tournament's leading scorer with six goals at just 22 years of age.

Rodriguez scored in each of Colombia's games at the World Cup while also adding three assists in the process.

After scoring one goal in each group-stage contest, Rodriguez found the net twice in Colombia's 2-0 round of 16 win over Uruguay, allowing the Colombians to reach the quarterfinals at the World Cup for the first time.

The run ended in a 2-1 defeat to Brazil, but Rodriguez managed to score from the penalty spot to leave quite an impression on the tournament.

German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was the recipient of the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper in Brazil after he yielded only four goals in seven games while helping Germany capture the title, and France midfielder Paul Pogba was named the top young player of the competition.

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