Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is confident that he will be back firing on all cylinders upon his return from a thigh injury that is set to keep him sidelined until 2014.
The Argentina international was ruled out for the rest of 2013 with a hamstring tear - his fourth muscular injury of the calendar year - but pledged to remain calm throughout the process, despite itching to get back to action.
"I'm calm because I know this is a normal injury but it's hard to be out of the field until January," he told Metro. "However, I know that I'll return and I'll play as usual."
With the World Cup less than eight months away, Messi talked up Argentina's chances of taking the spoils in Brazil, where he feels that the team are due for a reversal in fortunes after disappointments in their last few outings in major international tournaments.
"The candidates are always the same: Germany, Brazil, Spain, France - despite the play-off - and Argentina too, obviously," he observed.
"Argentina are always a candidate, despite how we reach the World Cup and moreover now with the makeup of the team. We have time until the World Cup begins and I think we'll improve and we'll grow up as a team.
"We've played the Copa America  and World Cups [2006 and 2010] without reaching the objectives we wanted to and qualification for South Africa was really hard for us.
"However, this World Cup qualification has been really different and we've qualified before the end of the competition. That brought people close to the team."