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Barcelona legend Samuel Eto'o names the player who can 'take over' from Lionel Messi

Last updated 1 month ago | By Mirror

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Granada v FC Barcelona - Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain - January 9, 2021 Barcelona's Lionel Messi prepares to take a free kick [Reuters, Jon Nazca]

Barcelona legend Samuel Eto'o claims Ansu Fati is the player capable of filling the void Lionel Messi will leave when he one day departs Barcelona.

Messi, 33, is out of contract this summer and time is quickly running out for the Catalan giants to agree a new deal with their captain.

Eto'o spent five glittering seasons playing alongside the Argentine and previously claimed Barcelona would need to change their name if Messi leaves.

But there is another prodigious talent attracting attention at Camp Nou, as teenage sensation Ansu Fati burst onto the scene last season.

The 18-year-old is already capped four times by Spain and Eto'o believes he is the man who can succeed Messi.

“I think [Fati] is the one for the future," Eto'o told SPORTbible . “He's currently doing amazing stuff so I think the club really needs to groom him and take very good care of him.

Barcelona´s forward Ansu Fati (R) is congratulated by Barcelona's French forward Antoine Griezmann after scoring a goal during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against Valencia CF at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Pau Barrena, AFP)

“Let's hope he's the one to take over from Messi.”

Fati began the current season in fantastic form with five goals and four assists in 10 games, but he suffered a major knee injury in November and remains sidelined for a number of weeks.

The young Spaniard was initially ruled out for up to four months after a meniscus tear in his left knee.

According to AS , however, the player may return in mid-February in time for the first leg of Barcelona's Champions League last-16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Fati impressed in European competition prior to his injury, scoring once and assisting three times in three games.

Spain's Ansu Fati, right, duels for the ball with Germany's Leroy Sane during their UEFA Nations League soccer match at the Mercedes-Benz Arena stadium in Stuttgart, Germany, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Last season, he became the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history by coming off the bench to net Barcelona's winner over Inter Milan in the group stage.

Fati provided a positive update on his rehabilitation in December, saying: "I have already started the recovery, in the Ciutat Esportiva [Barca academy base].

"I am very happy and I hope to be back as soon as possible. But, above all, to recover well."

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