Blake Lovell (36)

Was James Rodriguez Robbed of the Golden Ball?

Created on Jul. 14, 2014 10:03 AM EST

When Argentina's Lionel Messi was announced as the winner of the Golden Ball at this year's World Cup, a lot of people asked the same question:

But what about James Rodriguez?

This wasn't an award with the criteria of needing to be the best player in the world. Instead, it was an award for the best player of the tournament.

Messi was pivotal in leading Argentina to the World Cup final against Germany, as without him, there's no way Alejandro Sabella's side would have made such an impressive run.

However, Messi was not the top individual performer in Brazil over the past month.

Rodriguez scored a goal in every single match that Colombia played -- including two in a win over Uruguay in the Round of 16 -- which earned him the Golden Boot for the tournament's top scorer.

Although the Coffee Growers were bounced from the tournament by the host nation in the quarterfinal, from start to finish, no player was able to match what Rodriguez was accomplishing on the pitch.

The 23-year-old Monaco star reached a new level in his game by having Messi-like performances along the way. As was the case with Messi, Rodriguez's Colombian side wouldn't have even sniffed the quarterfinal had he not been so effective.

Without Radamel Falcao on the roster due to injury, all the pressure was on Rodriguez to carry Colombia to World Cup success.

He more than exceeded expectations, and even the most casual of fans that watched the beautiful game's most significant event could tell you that Rodriguez reigned supreme among the greatest footballers in the world.

Messi deserves massive praise for his ability to finally get Argentina over the hump and back into the final after a long drought.

It was Rodriguez, though, that commanded the world's attention as the brightest star on the game's biggest stage.