Samuel Eto’o has raised eyebrows by claiming Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard is “on the same level” as Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Former Barca striker Eto’o played alongside Messi for five glittering seasons and the pair spearheaded the Catalans to a historic treble in the 2008/09 campaign.
The Cameroonian has often spoken of his love of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and even insisted Barcelona would need to change their name if Messi left the club this summer.
The Argentine enjoyed yet another spectacular season last campaign, scoring 30 goals and providing 26 assists in 43 appearances across all competitions.
Meanwhile, Hazard has struggled since joining Real Madrid from Chelsea last summer for a fee which could rise to £150million.
The Belgian has scored just once and assisted six times in 22 Los Blancos appearances and struggled with injuries throughout the campaign.
Nonetheless, Eto’o made the outlandish claim that Hazard is “is on the same level as Messi” while speaking at the official presentation for the 2020/21 La Liga season, per AS .
He added: “Messi is like my son. He has stayed and so I’m happy. But the heart of this team needs more Barcelona-style players, players who are tiki-taka, not box to box.”
Eto’o also tipped Sergio Busquets to return to his best form and help Barcelona regain the La Liga crown, and spoke of his desire to see former club Mallorca return to the top flight.
“Barcelona is going to be the next league champion, but I want Mallorca, the team of my heart, to return to the top tier,” he said.
“[I would like] to see a great (Sergio) Busquets at his best level again,” Eto’o added. “When he is, Barcelona always win titles.”
Messi confirmed on Friday he will not leave Barcelona this summer despite informing the club of his desire to leave last month.