Lionel Messi is currently universally recognized as the best footballer in the world. With his talent and effort, the living legend made a career that most players can only dream of. With 769 goals and 331 assists from appearing in 974 games, 39 trophies, and 7 Ballon d’Or awards, he can easily be considered the sport’s uncontested G.O.A.T right now.
The Argentine player previously won the Golden Ball for the 2014 World Cup. His enigmatic performance at the tournament earned the cup via a vote. Sadly, it came following a defeat in the final against Germany. But, his performance at the event is considered one of the best to this date.
Before World Cup 2014
At the end of 2013, Messi faced a disastrous season at Barcelona. He was constantly facing hamstring injuries due to constant playing, causing him thigh problems. But fortunately, Barcelona gave him an extended break to take a rest and recover from and fitness. With that, he disproved the critics that previously were doubtful of Messi’s form.
Lionel Messi in World Cup 2014
In the group stage, Argentina’s first match was against Bosnia and Herzegovina. With a goal from Lionel Messi and Bosnia’s own goal, Argentina won the match 2-1. In the next match against Iran, Messi scored a goal in injury time. With this, Argentina won the match 1-0 and secured their place in the round of 16. In the group stage final match against Nigeria, Messi scored two goals. Argentina won the game 3-2 and finished the group stage placed 1st.
For the first match of the knockout stage, Argentina faced Switzerland. The match extended to extra time. Di Maria scored a goal in the 118th minute with Messi’s assist the minute and secured their place in the quarterfinals. Messi broke through the defense multiple times in their match against Belgium. Although he could not score a goal, ultimately, Argentina came out victorious 1-0 with Higuain’s early 8-minute goal.
In Argentina’s first semi-final since the 1990s, they faced the Netherlands. Both teams played aggressively, and even though Messi exceptionally tried breaking through the defense, Dutch defenders reacted almost instantly. This resulted in a penalty shootout, and Argentina again came out victorious with 4-2, with Messi scoring his goal.
In the final, the Argentines again gave their best effort against Germany. At that time, Germany was in its best form. Although Lionel Messi missed a few chances, he helped create some more. Unfortunately, in extra time a goal from Mario Gotze gave Germany that year’s World Cup and left Argentina with a broken heart once again.
Lionel Messi’s performance in World Cup 2014
In FIFA World Cup 2014, Messi served as the Argentina national football team captain. There he scored 4 goals with 1 assist. According to goal count, he ranked 3rd along with Neymar and Robin Persie.
Also, he won multiple man-of-the-match titles for his performance in matches against Switzerland, Nigeria, Iran, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In total, he won five man-of-the-match awards from the tournament.
Messi’s biggest achievement from World Cup 2014 was winning the Golden Ball award. But, the decision him winning the award was filled with controversy. Soon media and various high-profile football critics such as Diego Maradona and Sepp Blatter pointed out the fact.
On a final note, although the debate about his Golden Ball award-winning decision still goes on, one thing is sure: the football legend didn’t compromise with his performance and leadership in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.