Lionel Messi? Or Thomas Mueller? The world waits on the Argentine genius (L) and the German machine to see who comes out smiling at the Maracana today. PHOTOS: REUTERS
Lionel Messi has declared he would gladly hand back all his personal records if it meant Argentina could defeat Germany in the World Cup final.
The Albiceleste forward has scored four times on the path to Sunday's showpiece in the Maracana, which his side reached courtesy of a 4 -- 2 win on penalties against the Netherlands on Wednesday.
Messi has won a glittering array of awards throughout his career, including four Ballons d'Or, but claims that he would exchange all those accolades for a taste of World Cup glory.
"I would give all my personal records to be world champion," the 27 -- year -- old was quoted by Bild.
"I'd prefer to win the World Cup than the Ballon d'Or," he added in an interview with sponsors Adidas.
"As a player, winning the World Cup is the biggest thing there is. It's something you dream of as a youngster and that dream never fades away.
"I've asked my teammates at Barcelona, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta and [Gerard] Pique, what it's like to lift the trophy and they said it's hard to explain. We'll be doing everything we can to turn this dream into a reality [for Argentina]."
The forward was echoed in his desperation to clinch a third World Cup for Argentina by Javier Mascherano, who promised his side would give everything for victory.
"We're there and we'll try it with the soul, heart and head," the 30 -- year -- old said.
"Now we are on the last step and will try to live up to the circumstances, and then get to the destination.
"I wish I could enjoy it and can play with joy and excitement it deserves. This is what you aim for in life and what you imagined was far off, almost impossible. The dream is a great one.
"Right now all this is crossing my mind. I am a person who is easily excited and this is all in part for our squad, but also for those who struggle at our side -- family and friends who have endured through thick and thin."
- Germany v Argentina is the most frequently contested World Cup final, with Sunday's game marking their third clash for the biggest prize in football
- Twice champions Argentina are returning to the final for the first time since losing 1-0 to West Germany in 1990
- The South Americans won their first title in 1978, beating the Netherlands in the final, and their second in 1986 with a 3-2 win over West Germany
- The Germans have won the world title three times, though all three triumphs were as West Germany (1954, 1974, 1990)