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Messi's World Cup ends on bitter note

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Lionel Messi's final act in the 2014 World Cup was lifting a free kick high over the bar, wasting Argentina's last chance to equalize in the final against Germany.

It was far from a fitting finish for the four-time world player of the year.

This was supposed to be Messi's World Cup, just like the 1986 tournament belonged to another Argentine great, Diego Maradona.

But after carrying his team through the group stage in Brazil with four goals, Messi seemed to run out of steam.

He created chances in the final Sunday but, like the rest of the team, lacked the finishing touch to turn the game for Argentina.

"I'm hurt for losing the way we did. We were close to penalties," Messi said. "I think we deserved a little better, we had chances."

Germany Are Champions

He was a picture of disappointment as he collected the trophy for the tournament's best player, and then stood in silence at the entrance to the player's tunnel, watching the Germans receive the trophy.

"At this moment, I don't care at all about that prize, only lifting the trophy matters," Messi said.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said he thought Messi deserved the best player award, "because he played an extraordinary role. He was the fundamental factor in the team."

Messi has won everything there is to win with club team Barcelona, but many critics say he needs a World Cup title to be considered among football's all-time greats.

"He's been there for quite a while already, in the pantheon of the greats," Sabella said, when asked to compare Messi with players like Maradona and Brazil's Pele.

Messi stood out in an otherwise mediocre Argentine team in the group stage, scoring against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran and twice against Nigeria.

The free kick he curled inside Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama's left post was a masterpiece. Then, game by game, Messi's influence started waning.

Against Switzerland he had little impact until extra time, when he drilled a hole in the Swiss defense and set up Angel Di Maria's winning goal. In the next game, against Belgium, he started the movement that resulted in Gonzalo Higuain's first-half winner and helped Argentina keep possession as the Belgians tried to level the score.

Man-marked by Nigel de Jong, Messi struggled to find space in the semifinal win over the Netherlands, and besides a few runs and deft passes into the area against Germany, he didn't rise to the occasion.

His last chance came in the final seconds of extra time as he was given a free kick about 10 meters (yards) from the area. Messi wiped the sweat off his face, took aim and sent his final shot of the World Cup well over the target.

Join the discussion

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richie3gs July 13 2014 at 10:34 PM

really Messi whats that price for? be a man have some honor give it back who really deserve and work hard for it... RodrIguez, Mueller or Robben
FIFA sucks, fans should vote for best players...

Flag Reply +10 rate up
5 replies
josedpaz July 13 2014 at 10:17 PM

he didnt care all about that price....BECAUSE HE DIDNT DESERVE IT...as simple as that,it was a little present from FIFA

Flag Reply +8 rate up
HI July 13 2014 at 10:38 PM

Putting Messi in the same league as Pele is a joke, and a very bad one at that. No one can ever compare to his style, ability, and records.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
Jay July 14 2014 at 6:27 AM

Messi should have realized that his team would never beat Germany because they never do. He should have shown more grace......that is all I have to say about it.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
tcellguru July 13 2014 at 10:21 PM

FIFA wanted Brazil or Argentina to win, kinda obvious, especcially after Brazil hosted , is South American, and spent 8 billion on the games.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
dandva July 14 2014 at 1:05 AM

what a sore looser!!! If her dose not care about the prize then give it to some one that will appreciate it. Its all about the money anyway.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
hduque8843 July 14 2014 at 9:13 AM

Messi acted like a real jerk when he went up to get his trophy, that he did not served, that honor belonged to robben, by far the best player on this cup 2014. Messi acted like a real spoiled child, no class what so ever. What a jerk, a classless jerk. Go home and cry beach!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
icampcod247 July 13 2014 at 11:28 PM

They act little kids who don't get what they want, so they cry and scream about it. He wanted the world cup not a consolation prize, just like little cry babies! You don't server the cup, you lost its obvious Germany was better team. Congrats you got second place, you're the 1st loser! Envy much! But, but mummy i want want they have.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
rafo2005 July 13 2014 at 10:58 PM

of course Messi don`t care about the prize ..he don`t deserve it..he he were be honest he must return it back..the players were Robben, James, Muller, Macherano, etc, etc, etc.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
mmadttog July 13 2014 at 11:09 PM

Kickball stinks and another 1-0 thriller.Does this crap ever end?

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4 replies
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