Man City outsiders to nab snubbed World Cup Golden Ball nominee

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Lionel Messi looked decidedly uncomfortable as he trudged up the Maracana steps to collect his Golden Ball award for being named the World Cup’s best player.

Perhaps he was still shell shocked at losing the final to Germany or maybe, like the rest of the globe, he thought the award should have gone to someone else.

Whether he was under the radar or not, Monaco’s James Rodriguez set the tournament alight by scoring in each of Colombia’s games on the way to the quarter finals.

The attacking midfielder’s six goals was enough to see him claim the Golden Boot, despite departing the tournament two games early, yet he wasn’t deemed worthy enough to finish in the top three for the Golden Ball, as Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben took those honours.

Snubbed or not, Rodriguez is set for plenty of attention this summer as some of Europe’s mega-rich clubs circle the French principality looking to prise him away.

Real Madrid are the favourites to do so, according to Ladbrokes, with Los Blancos priced up at 2/5 to be Rodriguez’s club after the summer transfer window.

Remaining in Monaco, where he scored nine goals and registered 12 assists in Ligue 1 last season, comes next in the betting at 11/8, while Manchester City are 10/1 to secure his signature.

With clouds over Yaya Toure’s future at the Etihad growing darker by the day, City could well look to use their financial muscle to rival Madrid for Rodriguez’s employment. But, with Monaco asking for around £60m for the player and the 23-year-old clamouring to “wear white” according to his agent, the bookie doesn’t rate City’s chances.

Barcelona and PSG are both unfancied as potential Rodriguez suitors, at 14/1 and 20/1 respectively.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.