Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press
This World Cup would not be the same without Lionel Messi in an Argentina shirt.
The Barcelona star will be looking to make his mark on the tournament when his country takes on Bosnia and Herzegovina at Estadio Maracana on Sunday.
The 26-year-old will also be hoping for a World Cup improvement this year after his relatively disappointing campaign in South Africa four years ago.
Diego Maradona's team excited the crowds in 2010 but were completely overwhelmed 4-0 by a well-organised Germany at the quarter-final stage.
Messi made his World Cup debut in 2006 at the age of 18, becoming the youngest player to represent Argentina in the finals when he stepped off the bench against Serbia and Montenegro.
But the 2010 tournament was a great disappointment for Messi and Argentina, who had promised so much in the early stages of the competition.
Now, though, an older and wiser Messi will take centre-stage for Alejandro Sabella's team when they open their group stage against World Cup debutants Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, as Barney Ronay of The Guardian noted, Messi must shrug off the ghost of Maradona to prove himself as a genuine legend for Argentina.
Messi has scored just one goal for Argentina at a World Cup finals, leaving some of the country's fans to question any comparison to Maradona, who almost single-handedly guided the country to glory in Mexico in 1986.
According to Argentina team-mate Lucas Biglia, Messi is ready for this World Cup, as Vivek Chaudhary of The Independent reported.
The Lazio star is quoted as saying:
He (Messi) is very relaxed and will handle all the expectations. This is a different Messi you will see, not like at other World Cups. This is a team that will play to his strengths and make him comfortable so that he can make the difference.
But the difference in role for Messi between club and country can be neatly summed up by the personnel behind him.
At Camp Nou, the Argentine has a glittering array of talent such as Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets working midfield, while, at international level, the backing is more of a holding variety.
As a result, don't expect the usual fluid Messi to emerge against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Instead, we can expect a more counterattacking role in support of Angel Di Maria in a more creative role.
Whatever version of Messi is available on Sunday, though, it will be compulsive viewing.