Cuauhtemoc Blanco is temperamental, older and a bit heavier but he still possesses the exquisite touch that can turn him into Mexico's leader at the World Cup in South Africa.
Dropped for the 2006 finals in Germany due to Argentine coach Ricardo La Volpe's tactics and animosity between the two men, then announcing his retirement in September 2008, Blanco returned to the team last year under Javier Aguirre.
"I really hope to play another World Cup. I'll rip out my soul in order to get a place," the 37-year-old said.
If Aguirre includes Blanco in his final squad on June 1 as expected, the attacking midfielder would be playing in his third World Cup after France 1998 and South KoreaJapan in 2002.
"Mexico has to fulfil its dream and think of the title. We all have legs, arms and eyes to compete with anyone. There are some impressive teams but they shouldn't intimidate us," Blanco said.
The skilful player came close to the end of his career in 2000 when he hurt his right knee in a World Cup qualifier which sidelined him for eight months.
"Few people knew that I cried because of the risk I might never play again. The rehabilitation was painful but thanks to my character I was able to come back and continue enjoying what I most love...football," Blanco said in an interview.
As a youngster Blanco shone in the rough streets of Mexico City where a talent scout at America discovered him in an amateur tournament.
The start of his fruitful career came in 1991, when America's Argentine coach Miguel Angel "Zurdo" Lopez brought him on in the second half in a match against Leon.
Blanco first represented his country in 1995 and has played for Mexican clubs America, Necaxa, Santos Laguna and Veracruz, Spanish outfit Real Valladolid and Major League Soccer (MLS) club Chicago Fire.