Neymar’s hogging of every column inch space his name can be squeezed into has papered over the fact that there are other players unable to compete in the World Cup semi-finals.
The Barcelona man’s misfortune is being billed as one of the great modern sob stories, with little to no tears being jerked over the loss of Brazil’s more influential skipper Thiago Silva to suspension.
Neither, however, will be missed as much as stricken Argentina conjurer Angel Di Maria.
Despite having one of the worst games in the history of the World Cup as the Albiceleste squeaked past Switzerland in the last-16, the Real Madrid superstar is a vital component of Alejandro Sabella’s ruthlessly efficient machine.
His absence makes the 2/1 about the Netherlands’ price to prevail in the pair’s semi-final well worth a dabble.
Here are but a trio of factors that suggest Di Maria’s stint in the sick bay will be the most sorely felt by his country:
His use of possession may have been somewhat cavalier, but Di Maria is still taking responsibility.
Several quarters have been hasty to point out the Albiceleste’s over-reliance on Lionel Messi, but Di Maria hasn’t been shirking when it comes to getting hold of the orb.
Okay, so he hasn’t cherished it with Spanish veneration so far, but a talent of his calibre was surely on the verge of playing a blinder, when his constant getting on the ball would’ve been devastating.
Who else in the Argentina midfield can unlock defensive doors?
Javier Mascherano is as likely to thread a through-ball as Elmer Fudd is to gun down a giant, talking rabbit.
Di Maria is their only regularly-starting midfielder capable of carving opposition backlines and, if the South Americans depended on Messi too much when the former Benfica man was fit, the pressure on their talisman to sparkle will be intensified even further in the semis.
The 26-year-old’s performance in the Champions League final indicates he comes to the fore when the importance of the game is elevated.
Di Maria reserved one of his finest Los Merengues showings for the showpiece of club football.
He may have struggled to enthral the World Cup watchers thus far, but his virtuoso turn out in Real’s extra-time victory over Atletico Madrid, however, suggests he would’ve improved as the importance of matches elevated.