Samuel Eto'o has stated that Lionel Messi is on the same level as Real Marid star Eden Hazard. The former Barcelona striker, who scored 108 league goals in five seasons at Barcelona, has played with both Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard at Barcelona and Chelsea respectively.
Eto'o believes that Eden Hazard is on par with Lionel Messi in terms of footballing ability. In an event to celebrate the commencement of the upcoming La Liga season, the former Barcelona striker's bold claims took fan by surprise.
"Hazard is on the same level as Messi. Messi is like my son. He has stayed and I'm so happy. But the heart of this team needs more Barcelona-style players, players who are tiki-taka, not box to box."
Lionel Messi, who seemed determined to leave Barcelona this summer, announced last week that he is going to stay at the club. His representatives failed to find a way around his €700 million release clause, which made him unaffordable for any club.
Manchester City had been linked with a move for Lionel Messi, with Pep Guardiola reportedly having phone calls with Barcelona's record goal-scorer. But a move for the Argentine, at least till his contract at Barcelona runs out, seems highly unlikely to happen.
Lionel Messi will therefore be a part of Ronald Koeman's revolution at the Catalan club, as the Dutchman looks to repair the damage caused by the Barcelona board.
Eto'o believes that Hazard will find his feet at Real Madrid and pose a threat to Lionel Messi's Barcelona
Eden Hazard played with Samuel Eto'o during the Cameroonian's sole season with Chelsea in 2013-14, in which the Belgian was voted as Chelsea's Player of the season by his peers.
The 29-year-old moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 in a transfer worth €100 million. After signing with Real Madrid, Eden Hazard was quoted as saying;
'"I've dreamt about this since I was little, I always supported Real Madrid. Then I went to France and England and wearing this shirt now is a true honour."
The Belgian, however, endured a miserable 2019-20 campaign with Real Madrid. He reportedly came to the club overweight and was not in any shape to play, as injuries and poor performances blighted his first season at the club.
The winger showed enough during his time at Chelsea to earn the faith of Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who continues to believe in the 2014-15 PFA Player of the Year.
Eden Hazard has been quoted as saying that the 2019-20 season was the 'worst of his career', as he managed just the one goal in 16 league appearances for Real Madrid.
Eto'o, however, believes in the mercurial talent that is Hazard and thinks that the Belgian will rediscover his magic again. It is hard to dispute Eto'o's claims, given the ability that Eden Hazard possesses. However, it would also be wrong to compare Eden Hazard with Lionel Messi, a man who has scored 444 goals in 485 La Liga appearances.
Lionel Messi has put himself above all competitors other than maybe Cristiano Ronaldo, because of his consistentperformances over 16 seasons at Barcelona. Therefore, comparing one of the greatest players ever to grace the game to Eden Hazard may not be fair to the Belgian.
Published 08 Sep 2020, 17:08 IST