Star power dim at World Cup

Argentina coach Diego Maradona hugs Lionel Messi after losing to Germany in the World Cup...

Argentina coach Diego Maradona hugs Lionel Messi after losing to Germany in the World Cup quarterfinals at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:58 PM ET

CAPE TOWN -- He didn't tell his fans to (bleep) like Wayne Rooney, didn't spit at anyone like Cristiano Ronaldo and didn't whine to the officials after the final whistle like Kaka.

No, Lionel Messi displayed a far more down-to-earth emotion after being eliminated from the World Cup.

He cried.

"To see Messi weeping in the changing room, anyone who says to me he has no feelings for the (Argentina) shirt is stupid," Argentina coach Diego Maradona said after his teams's 4-0 loss to Germany in a World Cup quarterfinal at Green Point Stadium on Saturday.

"(Messi) had a great World Cup. He didn't score because the ball lifted or goalkeepers were their teams' stars."

Maybe.

But the fact remains that Messi and fellow world superstars Kaka of Brazil, Rooney of England and Ronaldo of Portugal combined to score just one goal at South Africa 2010.

One. Incredible.

Some would argue that these are the four best players in the world. Perhaps.

But none have won a World Cup. And until they do, their legacies will be tarnished. And rightly so. This is not about what about a player does for his club team. This is bigger than that. This is the World Cup, the world's biggest sporting tournament on the world's biggest stage.

Up until Saturday, Messi had been one of the best players in the tournament. But the Germans, having studied his tendencies, made certain Argentina's shifty superstar was double- and triple-teamed all afternoon.

"We analyzed their games and expected this lineup, and expected that Messi would drop into midfield," German coach Joachim Loew said. "We managed to take him out of the game, keeping him under pressure without fouling him."

It was a blue print that worked, at least for one day.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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