Argentina's World Cup is over after a remarkable 4-3 defeat to France on Saturday, and the inquest will now start. Much of the debate has surrounded Lionel Messi. The jewel in an otherwise-dusty crown, the 31-year-old scored once - a contender for goal of the tournament against Nigeria - and assisted two of his side's goals against Les Blues. However, he was not able to have the same explosive impact on the group stage as Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also knocked out on Saturday, and was unable to carry a limp team further in the competition.
Now, Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has admitted much of his preparation for the tournament focused on offering Messi the same on-pitch freedom he enjoys at Barcelona, although it ultimately didn't go according to plan.
"We have the best player in the world and we had to try to create collective situations to really use that player who can have many brilliant moments," Sampaoli said, per Reuters.
"We tried many different tactics - surround him, create space for him ... We tried to use everything we had to allow him to do what he can do.
"Sometimes we managed it, sometimes we didn't."
Whatever the plan was, it didn't work, and the world must now steel itself for the fact it may have just witnessed Messi play at his last World Cup.