Lionel Messi will have the chance to cement his legacy as one of football's all-time greats when he lines up in the FIFA World Cup final.
The Argentina and Barcelona superstar has long been regarded by many as the best player on the planet, having helped the Catalan club to a plethora of honours.
Messi's honour roll at Barca, which includes six La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions League crowns and two FIFA Club World Cups, makes for impressive viewing, but statistics alone barely do justice to a player boasting rare ability.
A hugely accomplished dribbler, passer and finisher, the diminutive 27-year-old set a record for goals in a calendar year in 2012, netting 91 times to break the previous record set by Gerd Muller.
However, the one slight on his illustrious career to date comes in the form of accusations that he has yet to deliver the goods at international level.
Messi was publicly criticised at the last World Cup in 2010 for failing to score as Argentina crashed out of the tournament with a 4-0 quarter-final defeat to Germany.
The Rosario-born attacker has somewhat atoned for previous disappointments at this competition, claiming multiple man-of-the-match awards during Argentina's progression to the final.
He now has the opportunity to secure his place alongside legends such as Pele and compatriot Diego Maradona, by lighting up the Maracana showpiece.
Argentina have hardly been scintillating in Brazil thus far, but their lack of fluidity has in some ways highlighted the brilliance of Messi.
A wonderful solo goal ultimately proved pivotal as Alejandro Sabella's men recorded an unconvincing 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in their Group F opener.
Messi then provided a stunning match-winning strike in the dying seconds to see off Iran, before shining again in a 3-2 triumph over Nigeria, a glorious free-kick bringing one of two further goals.
Yet for all his excellence in the group stages, Messi has been kept in check in the knockout rounds, his talent overshadowed by a number of the other players bidding to steal the show at football's grandest event.
Germany's Thomas Muller has claimed five goals to Messi's four and is among those to have arguably shone brighter during the latter stages, while the race for the Golden Boot is still headed by Colombia star James Rodriguez, who delivered a particularly impressive display in his side's last-16 triumph over Uruguay.
Muller and his team-mates provided the undoubted shock of the tournament with a 7-1 drubbing of hosts Brazil in the last four, a result that would seem to place even greater pressure on Messi ahead of a game that could ultimately define his career.
For many in Argentina, Messi will never be held in the same regard as Maradona, a truly inspirational figure pivotal to the country's 1986 World Cup triumph that was sealed with a 3-2 final win over Germany.
Yet if Messi can replicate the achievements of Argentina's largest football icon, then his status as one of the greatest ever will be all but sealed.
|Coach: J. Löw|
for C. Kramer 32'
for M. Klose 88'
for M. Özil 120'
|Conte: Chelsea will struggle again if there´s no improvement|
|Rashford wants to learn from Ibrahimovic|
|NYC star Lampard revels in historic hat-trick|
|Milner willing to cover at full-back|
|Gameiro: Griezmann and I will score lots of goals|
|Wenger: I won´t buy for the sake of it|
|Inter 1 Bayern Munich 4: Hat-trick hero Green enjoys happy homecoming|
|Ibrahimovic keen for ´interesting´ Pogba deal|
|Conte unsure over Costa´s Chelsea future|
|Zidane: Morata will remain a Madrid player|
|Sergi Roberto ´more than a player´ - Luis Enrique|
|New York City 5 Colorado Rapids 1: Lampard hits hat-trick in MLS rout|
|Mourinho hints at United future for Mata and Fellaini|
|Real Madrid 3 Chelsea 2: Hazard show too late for Blues|
|Penalty woes for Everton, Gray treble inspires Burnley at Ibrox|
|Atleti to present Gameiro on Sunday|
|Ibrahimovic nets debut goal as United put five past Galatasaray|
|Barcelona 3 Celtic 1: Messi, Suarez in action as Catalans cruise to victory|
|WATCH: Zlatan open his Man Utd account with acrobatic goal|
|Alba: It would be foolish not to respect Ronaldo, but Messi on another level|
|Lahm hails ´sensational guy´ Schweinsteiger following Germany retirement|
|Stones´ professionalism praised amid City reports|
|Roma suffer Rui blow|
|Inter complete Ansaldi move|
|Nainggolan confident of Roma challenge despite Juve investment|
|Rummenigge tells off Ribery over Guardiola dig|
|Meli makes Sporting loan switch|
|No repeat of slow start, vows Allegri|
|Mourinho desperately wanted Embolo at Manchester United, claims Heidel|
|Dembele can do anything - Tuchel|
|Pogba arrival would boost Rooney - Yorke|
|Ben Yedder makes Sevilla move|
|De Jong signs PSV renewal until 2020|
|Kovacic to fight for his place at Real Madrid|
|Sturridge out to improve goals-per-game ratio|
|Mourinho hails ´humble´ Ibrahimovic ahead of United debut|
|Schweinsteiger will not leave Manchester United for Bundesliga return - Rummenigge|
|Benatia on target again in Juve win|
|Atletico set to sign Gameiro|
|Zenga appointed Wolves boss|
|Flattered Verratti not seeking Madrid move|
|Ancelotti: Growing transfer fees nothing special|
|Eriksson: Ibrahimovic and Mourinho combo enough to win Premier League|
|Meunier: I could not reject PSG|
|Klopp: I didn´t want Mkhitaryan|
|Anything could happen before transfer window shuts - Zidane|
|Montoya leaves Barca base, nears Valencia switch|
|Wijnaldum: I´m happy to play anywhere|
|Klopp backs Mignolet after Karius injury|
|Liverpool suffer Karius injury blow|
|Ranieri confident Mahrez will stay as contract talks continue|
|Emery confirms interest in Jese|
|Higuain´s Juventus move not about money - agent|
|Wolves sack head coach Jackett|
|Zidane: Ronaldo unlikely to play Madrid La Liga opener|
|Ibrahimovic: United fans are waiting for me|
|Deulofeu shines for Everton, Cook opens Bournemouth account|
|Higuain out to emulate Del Piero|
|Kante does his talking on the pitch - Conte|
|Mourinho explains Fosu-Mensah snub|
|Klopp: No more unwanted players at Liverpool|
|Inter want more than €60m for Icardi - Thohir|
|Leicester can replace Kante - Ranieri|
|Lazio complete Wallace signing|
|Gueye set to join Everton, confirms Di Matteo|
|Tuchel: Transfer market has gone cash crazy|
|Leicester hand King new four-year deal|
|No deal done for Pogba, says Raiola|
|Rooney: Mourinho impact already huge|
|Lafferty hit with FA betting charge|
|Top-four finish never enough for Arsenal, insists Wenger|
|Partey hoping to make his mark on Atletico squad|
|Ibrahimovic in, Schweinsteiger out as United head for Galatasaray friendly|
|Vietto set for Sevilla after completing medical|
|I rejected Besiktas to fight for Barcelona spot, reveals Mathieu|
|De Laurentiis fumes at Higuain´s ´lack of respect´|
|Promising Janssen boosts Tottenham´s title hopes|
|Besiktas sign Adriano on three-year contract|
|Tottenham 0 Atletico Madrid 1: Godin grabs the winner|
|Gomis completes Marseille loan move|
|Iniesta surprised at Casillas-Del Bosque spat|
|New Juve signings do not guarantee success - Allegri|
|New Juve signings do not guarantee success - Allegri|
|Middlesbrough snap up goalkeeper Guzan|
|Guardiola still loves Ribery despite jibes|
|West Ham worry over Tore injury|
|Serie A could be another one-horse race, says Eriksson|
|Schweinsteiger retires from Germany duty|
|Iniesta welcomes Barca´s midfield competition|
|Drogba: No luck in Arsenal scoring record|
|Wenger seeks ´experienced´ striker to bolster Arsenal attack|
|Eriksson and Shanghai SIPG still fighting|
|MLS All-Stars 1 Arsenal 2: Premier League giants win late as Xhaka makes debut|
|Conte: I want aggression and intensity|
|Wimmer backs physical Janssen for Tottenham success|
|Klopp: I wouldn´t spend £100m on one player|