We are in the Quarterfinals phase in the 2010 World Cup soccer and yet the world's best players, Messi of Argentina and his close runner-up Kaka of Brazil haven't scored a single goal! Messi the playmaker had a hand, make that foot, in almost all the goals that Argentina scored, yet the peerless striker hasn't found the net himself. Kaka hasn't played to his potential yet, and although he too set up some goals for Brazil, he is yet to beat a goalkeeper himself. What's going on?
These two are marked men, and the best they can do through the maze of attacking players is to set up chances for others. Still, the hallmark of great soccer players is that they find a way to score against impossible odds. That's why they are great. Pele and Maradona and Cruyff had more than one opponent assigned to track and thwart their every move, still they performed their magic from impossible angles and through seemingly impenetrable walls.
It will be a shame if these two stars go through their run of the World Cup without a single goal to their credit. (No one remebers who provided the assists). Messi has to be at his best against Germany in the quarterfinals and carry his country on his genius. Bitter memories will haunt these two nemeses when they take to the pitch. Scoring a goal, and winning, will elevate Messi to his rightful place in soccer lore.
As for Kaka, unless he dazzles against Holland and helps Brazil to a convincing win, he will be considered a spent force. He will maintain his status in European leagues for a few more years but by 2014, he will be considered a spent force and will undoubtedly be replaced by younger wizards . Unless, of course, he does something spectacular in the remaining games for Brazil. Holland will be a tough mountain to conquer in the quarterfinals and the result could go either way. Holland's young Elia (of Surinamese descent), in particular, looks as good as any Brazilian and may help his country pull off an upset. Unless, again, Kaka does something sublime to give us an unforgettable moment or two at the 2010 World Cup.
Here's hoping that Messi and Kaka will deliver. And the ultimate dream final? Why, Messi against Kaka, of course!