Despite the intense rivalry between the two nations, a Brazilian local merely wanted to show his adoration for Lionel Messi when invading the pitch during an Argentina training session.
The fan mimicked shining the four-time Ballon d’Or winner’s boots and received a hug and the player’s training top in return, as the side were put through their paces ahead of their World Cup opener against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday.
With further games against Iran and Nigeria in Group F, Argentina go into the tournament as one of the favourites to lift the trophy at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, with much of their hopes pinned largely on the diminutive shoulders of superstar Messi.
Nobody doubts the Barcelona forward’s ability to wow at club level, but questions about the 26-year-old’s performances for the national team continue to surround him, despite an impressive record of 38 goals in 86 games.
Having already appeared at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, many see this as the career-defining summer for the Argentina captain, and how his side perform over the coming weeks will no doubt factor in to where he is placed in comparison to fellow countryman and legend Diego Maradona.
Alejandro Sabella’s outfit are certainly not a one-man team though, boasting such a luxury of attacking flair at their disposal that they can even afford to leave out the likes of Carlos Tevez and Javier Pastore from the 23-man squad.
With Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria all in line to start alongside Messi in Brazil, Argentina are set to be a formidable force at the World Cup, and an all-South American final between them and their most heated rivals in a month’s time is what’s anticipated by many.