RIO DE JANEIRO — Germany’s Manuel Neuer won the World Cup Golden Glove award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper after helping his side to a 1-0 victory over Argentina in Sunday’s final.
Neuer held off competition from his Argentine counterpart Sergio Romero and Keylor Navas of surprise package Costa Rica to win the award.
The 28-year-old Bayern Munich player was presented with the award at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium moments after the triumph.
“It is unbelievable, and an awesome experience,” said Neuer of his side’s victory, which gave Germany their fourth world title.
The former Schalke goalkeeper was beaten only four times in the tournament and kept four clean sheets, including the 1-0 quarter-final win over France and the victory over Argentina in the final. Statistically, Navas was better, allowing only two goals in five matches.
He succeeds Spain’s Iker Casillas, who was voted the outstanding goalkeeper at the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
Coincidentally, Navas’ strong play could lead to the Tico backing up Neuer for Germany’s powerhouse club Bayern Munich. The German champions are in negotiations to purchase Navas’ contract from his Spanish club Levante.
The move would give Navas a multimillion dollar pay raise, but also likely would force him to the bench for most of the season since he’d only receive sparing starting opportunities over Neuer.
Messi shrinks in final, but still takes home Golden Ball
Argentina captain Lionel Messi ended the World Cup final with a golden trophy in his hands, but it was not the one he wanted.
Moments after the final whistle at the Maracana stadium and with Germany’s jubilant players still cavorting on the pitch, Messi was called up to receive the Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player.
He flashed a perfunctory smile, but it was with the knowledge that Argentina’s defeat had prevented him from cementing his place in the pantheon of the truly great.
“The truth is it doesn’t interest me at this moment,” he admitted later.
While the 27-year-old has won everything there is to win — and broken every record to break — with Barcelona, the World Cup final offered him the opportunity to definitively seal his legacy in the sport.
Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo all scored decisive goals in World Cup finals, while Diego Maradona created the goal that settled the 1986 tournament. But Messi found himself upstaged by Mario Goetze’s sensational extra-time winner for Germany.
He will be haunted in particular by a glaring opportunity early in the second half, when with only Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to beat, he whipped his shot wide.
It was to be his only clear sight of goal, and his failure to seize the chance continued a narrative that had taken root earlier in the knockout phase.
Whereas Maradona seemed to grow with each match as Argentina surged to the title in 1986, scoring against England and Belgium in the quarterfinals and semifinals, Messi appeared to shrink.
After dazzling in the group phase with four goals, he set up the winning goal for Angel di Maria against Switzerland in the last-16, but in his own encounter with Belgium he flickered only sporadically, and in the semifinal against the Netherlands he was anonymous.
Messi has now gone four games without scoring for the first time under the stewardship of coach Alejandro Sabella, misplacing his gift for making a difference at precisely the wrong time.