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No special treament for Messi, claims Hitzfeld

The Barcelona attacker came into the 2014 FIFA World Cup under immense pressure to perform after failing to star for his country at each of the last two tournaments, but he has subsequently silenced his critics by netting four goals in the group stage.

Messi grabbed the winning goals against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran, before scoring the first two in a 3-2 win over Nigeria in their final Group F clash.

Argentina may not have been totally convincing in the group stage, but - in Messi - Hitzfeld knows Alejandro Sabella's side have someone capable of turning a match on its head in an instant.

Yet, Hitzfeld is adamant his side will not be giving the 27-year-old any special treatment when they meet in the last 16.

"Man-to-man marking against Messi? No," he is quoted as saying by Blick. "[We'll stop him] with a very well-functioning network. In this each player needs his concentration and attention levels extremely high. 

"We must correctly take care of all our essential [jobs], be ready to anticipate and be error free.

"And in this, we can stop Messi.

"I don't dream about Messi. I enjoy him when I see him play football. I am a fan of him, like everybody who likes football.

"However, nothing he does on Tuesday will be able to inspire me, regardless of how successful he is."