• Barcelona legend Samuel Eto'o believes Real Madrid star Eden Hazard is on par with Lionel Messi
  • The Cameroonian thinks Barcelona needs more players who are suited for its traditional style of playing
  • Eto'o mentored Messi in the past and often referred to him as like his own son

Barcelona all-time great Samuel Eto’o thinks there is one player who is as skilled as his former teammate, six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.

According to AS, the Barca legend made a bold statement during the official presentation for the 2020/21 La Liga season, saying Real Madrid star Eden Hazard is “on the same level as Messi.” Eto’o didn’t elaborate on why he thinks so, but it could be because of their similarities.

Hazard earlier said he is a player who likes to create chances for his teammates more than scoring goals — the kind of player Messi has been for Barcelona.

“I'm not just thinking about scoring goals, scoring goals, scoring goals. Some players now just think about scoring goals,” Hazard told prior to the Champions League. “And me? I'm more the kind of player who can create something. That's why I like to say that I'm more of an assisting guy than a scoring machine.”

Amid Messi’s Barcelona exit talks, Eto’o was one of the former Barca stars who opposed his departure from the club, saying, “If Messi decides to leave, we'll have to change the name of the club.”

But now that “Leo” has decided to stay at Camp Nou, Eto’o is thrilled and sees a great future ahead for his former club. The 39-year-old predicted that with Messi back on board, Barcelona will come back stronger next season to reclaim its La Liga title.

However, Eto’o admitted that he also wants Real Mallorca, his other former club, to become a competitive team once again.

“Barcelona is going to be the next league [LaLiga] champion, but I want Mallorca, the team of my heart, to return to the top tier,” Eto’o said.

Eden Hazard has endured a nightmare first season at Real Madrid but could make amends in the final 11 games.
Eden Hazard moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS

During his time with Barcelona, Eto’o played a significant role in Messi’s progress as the team’s rising star. He mentored the Argentine in his breakthrough years at Camp Nou and often described Messi as “like a son.”

But while the retired Cameroonian striker is happy that Messi stayed, he said that Barca needs to revamp its roster and bring in more players who are suited for the club’s traditional way of playing.

“Messi is like my son. He has stayed and so I'm happy,” Eto’o added. “But the heart of this team needs more Barcelona-style players, players who are tiki-taka, not box to box.”

Lionel Messi said he will stay at Barcelona but only because the club's president Josep Maria Bartomeu broke his word to let him leave
Lionel Messi said he will stay at Barcelona but only because the club's president Josep Maria Bartomeu broke his word to let him leave AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS