This seems to be the case with Ronaldo McDonaldo who's stature as ace marksman is shrinking faster than his waistline is growing. His previous season with Real Madrid was dismal and perhaps only his big match temperament persuaded Parreira to include him in a squad that boasts the attacking prowess of messrs Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano. In the game against Croatia he was ineffective to say the least, whilst being fed consistently by the midriff...I mean midfield, he managed just one shot at goal - which was off target. The once-golden boy of Brazil seems set for an anticlimatic end to his World Cup career unless his form improves drastically, but I can't help thinking that the bell has tolled for this fading star.
Ronaldo's Madrid teammate Raul has also been disappointing, after being left on the bench against Ukraine, only to watch David Villa steal the show with a near-hatrick. Young gun Fernando Torres is well-poised to take over the reigns from his idol and with an eye for goal - as shown with the blast to score Spain's last in their 4-0 thumping of Ukraine - it is no suprise that he is being courted by the likes of Manchester United and my beloved Newcastle.
Ukraine looked like they were in denial in that particular match, after a see-saw media battle regarding talisman Andriy Shevchenko's fitness. Depression turned to euphoria as the soon-to-be Chelsea forward proved fit enough to play 90 minutes but the status quo depression sooned returned, as Vladyslav Vashchuk was sent off for a dubious foul in the penalty box on Fernando Torres two minutes into the second half. Like Ronaldo, Shevchenko looked like an obsolete footballing dinosaur, not living up to his reputation as goal-pilferer supremo, and not managing a single shot at goal.
Another notable inefficient "superstar" has been the well-documented case of Michael Owen, England's sweetheart, whose match fitness is still well-below par, but perhaps he can prove his critics wrong tonight with a display worthy of his reputation. Similarly and yet probably more so has been the baffling poor performance of Thierry Henry for France. Sure, he's at his electrifying best (and most comfortable) for his London club Arsenal and not for his country, but his play against neighbours Switzerland was utterly disappointing and lacked the va va voom football fans know he possesses.