By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro
Fifa president Sepp Blatter admits that he was "surprised" that Lionel Messi was voted the best player of the World Cup and has expressed his sympathy for Luis Suarez following his four-month ban for biting.
Messi was awarded the Golden Ball following Argentina's 1-0 defeat to Germany in the final on Sunday after he scored four goals in the tournament but failed to register a strike in the knockout stages.
|WORLD CUP SOCIAL HUB
|Keep up with all the latest news from Brazil and get involved in the debate on Twitter with our new World Cup Social Hub|
"I was a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up as the best player in the competition," Blatter told a post-tournament press conference at the Maracana.
"If you compare the beginning of the tournament and why, finally, the Argentina team got into the final, they were decisive and I think it was a decision [based on that]."
Suarez, meanwhile, was banned by Fifa's disciplinary for biting Georgio Chiellini during Uruguay's victory over Italy in the group stage. An appeal to get the new Barcelona man's four-month suspension reduced has been dismissed but Blatter hopes to see the 27-year-old back to his best now that he has moved to the Camp Nou.
"Concerning the Suarez matter, I feel for him that such a punishment hurts," he remarked, "but, as the president of Fifa, I have to accept the decision of the committee.
"This player will come back to football on the pitch and, what he has shown on the pitch, we saw his tactical and technical capacity and his smell for goal.
"I hope he will be back. He is now at one of the greatest clubs in the world."
Blatter was also asked about corruption in the organisation of the World Cup but reacted angrily to the question put to him by a Brazilian journalist.
"Listen, lady," he snapped. "When you speak about corruption, you have to present evidence..."