Football is ultimately about collective effort

The disappointment at the departure at the same stage from the greatest football competition in the world of its two greatest ever exponents is tempered with a slight feeling of relief.

For the past 14 or 15 years, both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have continually shown the world why they have enjoyed the undivided attention of football's devotees, yet on Saturday in two separate locations some 2,000km apart in this vast country that is Russia, football returned as the greatest team game in the world and not merely as a contest between two outrageously talented individuals.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2018, with the headline 'Football is ultimately about collective effort'. Print Edition | Subscribe