By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
Retired Cameroon forward Samuel Eto’o is said to be one of the most influential players on Lionel Messi’s career, while the six times Ballon d’Or winner was making his way into Barca’s first team from the club’s academy [La Masia].
The former Real Madrid and Barcelona forward joint the Catalan giants in 2004, at a time when Messi was making waves as the next big thing in Barca’s Academy.
Eto’o gave the Argentine genius some career shaping advice.
“He [Messi] confessed to me that, thanks to my advice, which I am not going to reveal, his career had changed,” Eto’o told DAZN.
“One day he said: ‘Thanks to Samuel [Eto’o] my career changed’.
“He has to fix two or three things but he has always had the talent.
“I am proud and happy to see that he has written history which he is yet to finish, and it will be difficult to beat what he has written.”
Messi and Eto’o went on to partner up front for the Blaugrana, tearing opposition back lines apart from 2004 to 2009 before Eto’o’s departure to Inter Milan in Italy.
The four times African Player of the Year scored 108 league goals in 144 league appearances for the Blaugrana. He watched an emerging Lionel Messi rise to prominence.
“He was going up and down from La Masia to the first team,” the four time UEFA Champions League winner added.
“We already knew that one day Messi was going to be what he is. I am happy because he has made it in the end, thanks to himself.
“He showed me that nothing has changed. He is still the good the person I met.”
32-year-old Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccitini joint Barcelona as a 14-year-old from Newell’s Old Boys in 2001 and progressed through the ranks into the team’s first team in 2004 and has gone on to score 438 league goals in 474 appearances, winning 10 LaLiga titles, 6 Copa del Reys, 4 UEFA Champions League titles, 3 UEFA Super Cups, 3 FIFA Club World Cups, 8 Spanish Super Cups and 6 Ballon d’Or titles amongst others.
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