FIFA president Sepp Blatter admits that he was "a little bit surprised" to see Argentina star Lionel Messi collect the Golden Ball award at the World Cup in Brazil.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted that he was "a little bit surprised" to see Argentina star Lionel Messi crowned as the best player of the 2014 World Cup.
Messi scored four goals in the group stages, but then failed to produce his best form in the knockout rounds as his country limped to the final before losing to Germany.
Joey Barton and Stan Collymore are among those who have questioned Messi being awarded the prize by FIFA's 13-man Technical Study Group, rather than the likes of James Rodriguez or Arjen Robben.
Blatter concurs that Messi was perhaps not a deserving winner of the Golden Ball, but did stress that his early-tournament form was crucial in helping Alejandro Sabella's side make a strong start.
He told reporters: "I was a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up to collect the best player of the competition.
"If you compare the beginning of the tournament and why the Argentina team got into the final, they were decisive."
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was one of four players from the champions nominated for the Golden Ball, won the Golden Glove, while France midfielder Paul Pogba earned the Young Player Award.
Barton "baffled" by Messi award >