But after carrying his team through the group stage in Brazil with four goals, Messi seemed to run out of steam. He created chances in the final Sunday but, like the rest of the team, lacked the finishing touch to turn the game for Argentina.
"I'm hurt for losing the way we did. We were close to penalties," Messi said. "I think we deserved a little better, we had chances."
He was a picture of disappointment as he collected the trophy for the tournament's best player, and then stood in silence at the entrance to the player's tunnel, watching the Germans receive the trophy.
"At this moment, I don't care at all about that prize, only lifting the trophy matters," Messi said.
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said he thought Messi deserved the best player award, "because he played an extraordinary role. He was the fundamental factor in the team."