David Beckham believes Lionel Messi poses the biggest threat to England's bid to lift the World Cup in South Africa this summer.
The diminutive Argentine has struggled to transfer his scintillating form for Barcelona onto the international stage for the Albiceleste of late, but Beckham still feels he has the ability to light up the tournament.
England cannot meet Argentina until the quarter-final stage, but having come up against the South Americans in two of the past three World Cups, the AC Milan loanee is not ruling out another encounter this time round.
Despite coming within 90 minutes of missing out on the tournament altogether the 34-year-old former England captain believes Diego Maradona's men can be a force in South Africa.
"Messi is one of the best players I've played against and also one of the finest players I have ever seen," the former Manchester United midfielder told Fifa.com.
"For a little player, he's so talented. He's the closest player to Maradona that you can get, and he even plays in a similar passionate way too.
"He's successful and a really good person as well. I'm sure he'll go on to be even more successful in the future."
However, Beckham maintains that England will fear no-one considering they have a host of world class talent of their own.
"I think we've got many key players in our team: Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Rio Ferdinand - we've got players all the way through our team who are exceptional," he enthused.
"We're lucky to have such a talented group of players. Fabio Capello is a special manager. He has so much experience. He knows how to win games and he knows how to win competitions."
If selected Beckham, would become the first England player to feature in four World Cup finals and the achievement is not lost on the LA Galaxy star.
"It's the biggest footballing competition in the world, so any player who is lucky enough to be part of a World Cup knows how special is really is," he stated.
"I've been lucky to have played in three and hopefully I'll be luckier still to play in a fourth. It really is an incredible feeling."