Lionel Messi has named Brazil, France and England as his favourites to claim World Cup glory in Qatar.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will feature at his fifth World Cup this year, when he will look to help Argentina to their first triumph at the tournament since 1986.
Messi was named Player of the Tournament when Argentina reached the World Cup final in 2014, but the Paris Saint-Germain star believes other teams head to Qatar in a better position than the Albiceleste.
"Whenever we talk about candidates, we always talk about the same teams," Messi told South American football federation CONMEBOL.
"If I have to put some above others, I think Brazil, France and England are a little bit above the rest.
"But the World Cup is so difficult and so complicated that anything can happen."
All six of Messi's World Cup goals to date have been scored in the group stages, and he has failed to net in 756 minutes of action in the knockout rounds of the tournament.
However, Messi was in inspired form as Argentina finished as runners-up to Germany eight years ago, contributing to 63 per cent of his team's goals in Brazil (5/8, with four goals and one assist).
He believes Lionel Scaloni's team can grow into the tournament this time around.
"We are very excited. We have a very nice group that is very eager, but we think about going little by little," Messi said.
"We hope to start the World Cup in the best way to face everything that comes after. The more you play and the more time you spend on the pitch, the more you get to know each other."
Argentina begin their Group C campaign against Saudi Arabia next Tuesday before facing Poland and Mexico.