Star Argentina striker Lionel Messi (R) staves off a sliding tackle from Slovenia's Bostjan Cesar during their international friendly in Buenos Aires on Saturday. PHOTO: AFP
Brazil defender Thiago Silva has joked he will need a gun to stop Lionel Messi if he faces the Argentina star at World Cup 2014.
The Paris Saint-Germain captain has suffered at the hands of Messi on three separate occasions with both AC Milan and the Ligue 1 champions in the Champions League.
The pair could do battle yet again this summer, should Brazil and Argentina meet during the World Cup, and when asked how to stop the four-time Ballon d'Or winner, Silva admitted he may resort to special measures.
"How will I stop him? He can only be stopped with a gun," the 29-year-old said in a magazine.
"He's the player who keeps you awake upfront when the rest of the team is working the ball. When the game goes to one side of the field, he will be all alone on the other.
"Despite his injuries this last season he will be a big threat at the World Cup."
Brazil and Argentina have been tipped as two favourites to reach the final in what would be a mouth-watering coming together of South America's fiercest rivals.
Silva admits he would love to face the Alejandro Sabella's men but also welcomed the prospect of renewing rivalries with several other nations.
"[Argentina] would be a classic," he added.
"After that Germany would be a great game, a re-match of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup final, or Spain. They are also calling for revenge after we beat them in the Confederations Cup final.
"[Sergio] Ramos says it would be different at the World Cup."
In their final World Cup tune-up, Argentina fielded a light line-up without too much talent against a tough Slovenia and still managed to impress with more than a few above-average substitutions.
Ricky Alvarez scored in the first half with Messi connecting with Angel di Maria, and Sergio Aguero put one in during the final half of the match to finalise the scoreline. The latter three all entered the match to add a bit more spice to the attack and it certainly worked as was proved with that goal. Look out for these three to be on the field together quite a bit in the tournament itself.
Despite recent history in the tournament which has failed to quite live up to expectations, the feeling from Buenos Aires to the wine region of Mendoza, and from the heights of Salta in the north to the world's southernmost city, Ushuaia, is that a trophy win in Brazil is too good a chance to miss.
Argentina were the top scorers during South American qualifying, and given the players at their disposal it will be little surprise to hear that they're as capable of intricate team goals as they are of fast counter-attacks or thrilling solo efforts.
Expectations back home are tempered by a popular belief that Sabella has placed personal loyalties over perhaps more talented players; Carlos Tevez is the most obvious of the names to be left out.
Teams have already started to arrive at their base camps in Brazil. Argentina are due to arrive today at their base in Belo Horizonte from Buenos Aires.