BUENOS AIRES - Argentina superstar Lionel Messi says his army of fans will see a different player at the World Cup than the one that underperformed this season with Barcelona.
"As I join up with the national team, the atmosphere is completely different. Lots of times in the past when I have gone back to Barcelona I have played well. Now I am hoping that the opposite happens," he told journalists on arrival at Buenos Aires airport yesterday.
Messi took his time to transcend his talent with Barcelona onto the international stage and it was only at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that he started to perform well.
The 26-year-old returned to his native city of Rosario on arrival before linking up with coach Alejandro Sabella and the rest of the squad next Monday at Ezeiza, the team's training camp.
He vowed to train "with maximum energy in order to give his best like always".
"When I return to the training ground with my teammates, with my friends, it's going to change my mentality and it's going to be another story.
He also revealed that along with the rest of the Barcelona team this season, they were suffering from a "lack of energy".
Argentina will play friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago on June 4 before taking on Slovenia three days later.
Their opening Group F match will be against Bosnia on June 16 which proceeds Iran on June 21 and finally Nigeria on June 25.