The 27-year-old failed to score in the match as he saw a late effort saved by Thibaut Courtois, but was a constant threat to Marc Wilmots's side with his pinpoint passing and surging runs through the middle of the field.
Sabella told reporters: "I felt he played a wonderful match. It's not only scoring goals, it's having possession, taking out three opponents and every move he makes is a sign of hope for us and endangers our opponents.
"That a player like Messi almost never loses the ball is water in the desert - he gives us that water in the desert.
"Today when the terrain was dry he gave us that breath of fresh air every time he had the ball."
Messi has scored four goals in the tournament in his five matches in Brazil.