It feels like a lifetime ago since Lionel Messi came bursting on the scene at Barcelona, but Samuel Eto’o was one of the players who noticed his immediate potential.
So, when the former Chelsea star spoke to Patrick Vieira about the Barcelona forward before he played against him, he wasn’t messing around.
“I told him one day it would seem like every player who came before Messi was playing a different sport,” he said (via the Guardian).
Vieira probably came to believe the hype after he saw the man himself in action. There is no denying that then-Juve manager Fabio Capello did, who was blown away by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“In my entire life, I have never seen a player of such quality and personality at such a young age, particularly wearing the ‘heavy’ shirt of one of the world’s great clubs,” he said (via Goal).
“That guy can do whatever he wants with the ball. It’s impressive winning a world youth title this summer, but this was outstanding — this was playing with men, not against kids his own age.”
According to Barcelona’s website, the 72-year-old Italian manager said that he has “never seen a player of such quality.”