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Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: 5 Players Who Could’ve Won the Golden Ball

5 Players Who Could've Won the Golden Ball

lionel messi argentina
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Choosing Lionel Messi as the winner of the Golden Ball award at the 2014 World Cup seemed like a very controversial pick. Germany defeated his Argentina team in the final and many felt the award should have gone to a German player. There is also the notion that other players had a bigger impact at this World Cup and were more influential in their team's overall success. Here are the five most deserving players who could've won the award instead.

5. Thomas Muller

germany attacker thomas muller
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5. Thomas Muller

germany attacker thomas muller
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Muller had an outstanding tournament with his German squad as he tallied another five goals to improve his career World Cup total to 10 goals. Muller is only 24 years old and seems like a decent bet to break his teammate Miroslav Klose's newly minted record of 16 career World Cup goals. Muller's constant movement and inventiveness on the attack made him one of the most dangerous players at this tournament.

4. Manuel Neuer

germany Manuel neuer and toni kroos
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4. Manuel Neuer

germany Manuel neuer and toni kroos
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Picking Neuer for this award may be a bit unusual seeing as how he won the Golden Glove award as the best goalkeeper and the Golden Ball award typically goes to outfield players. Neuer, like Oliver Kahn in 2002, is the rare exception in this case as his fearless play and excellent reflexes made him a nightmare for his opponents to shoot upon. Neuer only conceded four goals in seven matches and was stellar throughout this 2014 World Cup.

3. Toni Kroos

german midfield toni kroos
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3. Toni Kroos

german midfield toni kroos
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Kroos is a bit of an under the radar candidate, but his play in this tournament was nothing short of brilliant. Kroos patrolled the midfield and bombed forward in attack. His clever passing was frequently on display and his four assists tied with Colombia's Juan Cuadrado for the tournament lead. Kroos was consistently a factor in every match and will be a major part of the core of this German team for many years to come.

2. James Rodriguez

colombia midfielder james rodriguez
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2. James Rodriguez

colombia midfielder james rodriguez
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While this slot may be a bit high for Rodriguez, I could argue that he is the best alternative candidate to win instead of Messi. No player was singularly as effective in every match for their team as Rodriguez was for Colombia. He won the Golden Boot award with six goals and tallied two assists as well. Rodriguez had some of the best individual goals of the tournament and there is no doubt he was the breakout star of this 2014 World Cup.

1. Philipp Lahm

germany defender philipp lahm
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1. Philipp Lahm

germany defender philipp lahm
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This may not be the popular pick, but Lahm seemed to be Germany's most indispensable player. He rotated between a holding midfield spot and the right back spot, his best position. Once he moved to right back for good, Germany's defense became increasingly difficult to bypass. Lahm's consistency and great technique makes him the most reliable player in the tournament and he proved that yet again as Germany emerged as World Cup champions.