Alessandro Nesta has joined the chorus of experts who believe Lionel Messi was not the right man to win the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup following Argentina’s 1-0 extra-time defeat by Germany. But the former Italy international still thinks Messi could match his hero Diego Maradona and win the game’s biggest prize.
Speaking in our World Cup Special web chat, Sony Team Ambassador Nesta said: “He’s the best player in the world, but in this World Cup there were many other players who deserved the award more.
“Thomas Muller for sure, James Rodriguez as well – he was the best player. But also Javier Mascherano and Bastian Schweinsteiger were better than Messi.”
Nesta was also asked by our users if Messi, 27, should still be considered one of the best players of all time. Of this he had no doubt. “Of course he should. Messi didn’t play well in the final but this shouldn’t erase all the amazing things he has done so far in his career.”
Messi’s four goals helped to get Argentina out of their group but he didn’t score in the knock out phase. Following the defeat at the Maracana, the Barcelona star conceded that his country’s fabled strikers had failed.
Nerves, Nesta was asked, must have affected the misfiring Gonzalo Higuain, who fluffed a simple chance in the first half of the final, and the substitute Sergio Aguero, who was never at the races during the tournament. “It happens sometimes when there’s such a prize at stake. In these circumstances, players can underperform,” said Nesta, who missed out on Italy’s 2006 triumph after getting inured in the group stage.
Asked the eternal question, who is greater, Maradona or Messi, Nesta said that argument cannot be put to bed because Messi’s chance to match the old maestro’s 1986 achievement is still alive. “It’s too early to say. Once Messi has retired then we can answer that question,” said Nesta. “Messi still has one more chance to win the World Cup.”