Argentina star Lionel Messi says he wants to face Wayne Rooney in the World Cup final.
Messi enjoyed a stellar season with club side Barcelona, winning La Liga and FIFA World Player of the Year to cap off a remarkable campaign.
The midfield wizard will now be looking to transfer his scintillating form onto the international stage, where Diego Maradona's team take on Greece, Nigeria and South Korea in Group B.
Argentina's last World Cup triumph came in 1986 in Mexico, defeating the Three Lions in the quarter-finals with the aid of Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal en route to glory.
And Messi said he would relish the battle against Rooney and his country, with the striker seen by many as the key to England's hopes of winning the trophy.
He said in the Mirror: "It would be great to play against Rooney, although I don't think I would see much of him because we mostly play at opposite ends of the pitch.
"For me, England have a good balance. They look very dangerous when Peter Crouch plays with Rooney up front. I like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, too, but Rooney will be the key.
"It would be good to play against him in South Africa - preferably in the final, if that is possible."
The two countries' well-documented rivalry would add extra to zest to the final in Johannesburg on 11th July.
Both on and off-the-field battles have characterised the tussle between two teams considered to be heavyweights of international football.
But the pair have often floundered when expectations rise, although Messi says he is impressed with Fabio Capello's team.
The 22-year-old said the Italian had inspired a transformation in the mentality of the Three Lions and backed their rivals to progress during their campaign.
He added: "I know there is a lot of history between England and Argentina, but I also know our players admire the English game.
"Mentally they are strong, and they have good quality players. Capello has made them strong, I have seen them play many times on TV and I have been impressed with England.
"They have a chance but Spain will be tough, along with Brazil and Italy, and it will be a great World Cup with some surprises.
"It's about belief as well - and Capello's strong personality will be good for England."