Wednesday July 9th, 2014

Speaking the day before his team's World Cup semifinal match against the Netherlands, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella didn't hesitate in proclaiming star forward Lionel Messi the current best player in the world, reports the Associated Press.

Sabella praised Neymar, who fractured a vertebrae in Brazil's quarterfinal match against Colombia and missed Tuesday's semifinal against Germany, as well as Arjen Robben of the Netherlands, who Argentina will face in the semifinal Wednesday. But the coach said Messi is the "best of them all."

Messi has been on a star on the club stage for FC Barcelona, already winning FIFA Player of the Year honors four times in his career, but has faced scrutiny in his home country for failing to deliver in international play, including a zero-goal performance at the 2010 World Cup.

This World Cup has changed that narrative. The 27-year-old is tied for third in the tournament with four goals scored, including a late gawinner against Iran in group play.

Messi also assisted on the winning goal in extra time in Argentina's 1-0 win over Switzerland in the Round of 16.

MORE WORLD CUP: Argentina has edge over NetherlandsScolari: Brazil's loss 'worst day of my life'

—Ben Estes

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