Former Barcelona player Samuel Eto’o believes he has identified Lionel Messi’s ballon d’or successor for the next 10-15 years.
Lionel Messi’s former team mate believes the PSG’s star successor is his team mate Kylian Mbappe.
Lionel Messi lifted his seventh ballon d’or on Monday, he now has two more than his closest rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
Eto’o, who finished third in the World Player of the Year voting in 2005, is sure that Messi’s PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe has the tools to take over the mantle from Messi, even though he only finished in a disappointing ninth place at Monday night’s ceremony.
“He is there and it has arrived at a good moment, in which Messi and Cristiano, the gods of football, are in the night of their careers due to age and Mbappe is arriving,” Eto’o told AS.
“I hope he will be the biggest for the next 10 or 15 years. He has everything to be this unique player that soccer needs after these two monsters.”
Eto’o says he does feel for the Polish forward and other nominees, but is delighted to see Messi win the crown again.
“Leo deserves everything that is beautiful in this world, so I am happy for him, for what he has contributed, what he contributes and what he will contribute,” he continued as he lavished praise on his former teammate.
“Now that he has the seventh I hope the eighth comes.
“[Karim] Benzema and Lewandowski obviously deserved it. Mbappe deserved it, [N’Golo] Kante deserved it, Jorginho deserved it…
“But football is like that. Many of us think that we could be considered the [winner of the] Ballon d’Or, but then there are people who are there to choose and we have to respect it.
“They have thought, like me, that Leo is the best and that he has to win.”
Eto’o has also backed his former Barcelona teammate Xavi to succeed at the Nou Camp having replaced Ronald Koeman as manager.
“I wish you all the luck in the world,” he added when asked for a message to Xavi.
“Barca is going through a particular situation and I think the ideal person to lift it up is Xavi, the Machine.
“There is a factor of luck that is there, and that I hope that will accompany Barca to find success again.
“If Xavi doesn’t do it, nobody can do it.”