adidas Golden Ball: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
A true captain and a true matchwinner. There can be no finer compliment to Argentina skipper Lionel Messi, who was so influential in his team’s path to the Final. With some questioning just how influential he would be in Brazil after a demanding season for Barcelona and concerns over a troublesome hamstring, he silenced the doubters by simply being his usual inspirational self. He mesmerised at the Maracana by scoring and setting up another in the 2-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. He scored late on against Iran to send the team through to the Round of 16 and then added two in the 3-2 win over Nigeria. But he didn’t stop there. He played the ball to Angel Di Maria, who scored in the 118th minute of the match against Switzerland to send them through to the quarter-finals. In the semi-finals he stroked home a penalty to help his side defeat the Dutch. And while the personal accolade may be scant reward for a runners-up medal, he can be justifiably proud of his performances at this FIFA World Cup.
adidas Golden Boot: James Rodriguez (Colombia) - 6 goals, 2 assists
Colombia’s No10 made an instant impact at Brazil 2014, scoring in the last minute in their 3-0 win over Greece, earning the Budweiser Man of the Match Award in the process. He picked up the same accolade in the next match, a 2-1 win over Côte d’Ivoire, finding the target once more. The Monaco man was at it again in the final group game against Japan, entering the fray as a second-half substitute, yet making time to create two goals for Jackson Martinez and score himself. Rodriguez then made history when he scored twice in the 2-0 win over Uruguay, ensuring Colombia qualified for the quarter-finals of a FIFA World Cup for the first time. There he tasted defeat for the first time against Brazil, but converted a consolatory penalty and earned a standing ovation from the crowd in Fortaleza for his efforts.
adidas Golden Glove: Manuel Neuer (Germany) :
After winning the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup with Bayern Munich, the 28-year-old now has the adidas Golden Glove to add to his growing collection. The Germany No1 was in fine form for the Nationalmannschaft during Brazil 2014, conceding just four goals in seven games and impressing FIFA’s Technical Study Group with his shot-stopping ability, his commanding presence and his ability to start attacks from his own penalty area. Indeed, he has been dubbed a ‘sweeper-keeper’ by sections of the media for his performances at this World Cup, featuring plenty of evidence of his desire to come off his line and play accurate passes when under pressure.