From Hero To Zero- The Curios Case Of Lionel Messi

Neymar Ronaldo Messi

GETTYNeymar Ronaldo and Messi are among the players who get special treatment says Pearce

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four goals while carrying his team to victories in its first two matches in what could be his final World Cup.

France and Barca defender Samuel Umtiti, however, spoke about Messi's difficulties with Argentina on Thursday.

Sampaoli says Argentina will "play with a knife between their teeth" when they take on France, and he is expected to make a significant change to the side's attacking line-up. The expectation was high and so far Messi was on the low, possibly immersed in dancing to Flowking Stone's song, "Go Low".

Whether he can break through against Uruguay will determine Ronaldo's World Cup legacy.

"We do not have anything to reproach ourselves for, and when that happens, that's it, when you go empty, you have to accept that the rival is better and everything is over, I hope in the future these guys can achieve something great".

The Albiceleste have struggled in recent months, and will be looking to record consecutive wins for the first time in nine matches when they hit the pitch on Saturday as +240 underdogs.

The Real Madrid star, who has four goals in Russian Federation and looks certain to be crowned world player of the year for a sixth time, will come up against a tight Uruguay defence that did not concede a single goal in the group phase.

Argentina reserve midfielder Lucas Biglia also announced his retirement in the postmatch news conference, telling reporters: "I am going to step aside".

Uruguay has impressed in their three games so far at the World Cup.

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Perhaps we're getting too far ahead of ourselves, we nearly certainly are, but in seven days' time football fans around the world could be salivating over the prospect of Portugal versus Argentina in the quarterfinals, which would, of course, give us a showdown between Messi and Ronaldo. "We couldn't advance, that was the only thing we wanted".

"Yes, of course, it can be", he told Marca when asked if it could still be Messi's tournament. This was the third consecutive World Cup in which the defending champion didn't win its opening match.

After almost five and a half hours of football, it was the first goal Uruguay had let in at this World Cup - indeed it was the first they had conceded in 2018.

24 - The 24 penalties awarded at Russian Federation 2018 - the first World Cup to use VAR - has already smashed the previous record.

"I don't think it will be a duel between Ronaldo and Suarez", said Alves at Portugal's training base in Kratovo. But our team is more at ease against good footballing sides, we have players who can play really well on the counterattack and maybe we are not ready yet to control games.

Adding fuel to the controversy, an unknown Ronaldo supporter challenged Messi by adding a phrase to the mural, which reads: "I scored 4 goals, can you beat that, Leo?"

But Germany's departure means a new champion will be crowned and, even without the Germans, there is still much to look forward to.

What Sampaoli must realise is that Messi, unlike Cristiano has maintained his skill-set on the ball hence making himself susceptible to heavy marking.

Right when it appeared the defending champs were done, Toni Kroos saved their World Cup. albeit momentarily.

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