Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball as the World Cup's best individual player.
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By The SI Staff
July 13, 2014

Lionel Messi may not have led his nation to World Cup glory, but he was still named the best player in Brazil. 

Messi was awarded the Golden Ball as the World Cup's top individual, an award decided by the FIFA Technical Study Group. 

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​Messi beat Germany's Thomas Muller (Silver Ball winner) and the Netherlands' Arjen Robben (Bronze Ball winner) to claim the award, which he'll add to his growing list of individual accolades. A rather stoic, unimpressed Messi collected his trophy after 120 grueling minutes, during which his Argentina came up short in the World Cup final, losing 1-0 to Germany in extra time. 

Messi had by far the best individual World Cup of his career, scoring four goals in the competition, all of which came in the group stage and put Argentina on track to a 3-0-0 Group F record. He assisted on Angel di Maria's extra-time winner against Switzerland in the round of 16 and also had a hand in Gonzalo Higuain's eventual winner against Belgium in the quarterfinals. Against Germany, Messi missed a great chance just after halftime, pulling his left-footed, close-range strike wide of the post. 

In injury time of the second half of extra time, Messi had a chance to find an equalizer, but he put his 25-yard free-kick attempt well high of the mark.