The former Blaugrana striker is delighted to see an unwelcome transfer saga brought to a close and expects bids for major titles in 2020-21
Samuel Eto’o is pleased to see Lionel Messi, a man he considers to be “like my son”, staying at Barcelona but admits the Camp Nou giants are going to need much more than the mercurial Argentine in order to become competitive once again.
The 2019-20 campaign descended into chaos for the Blaugrana on the back of the summer restart.
Having sat out three months during a coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Quique Setien’s side lost their spark – surrendering the Liga title to arch-rivals Real Madrid and being humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Messi’s patience had been tested prior to those setbacks and the six-time Ballon d’Or stunned world football after the season came to a close by airing his desire to take on a new challenge.
The 33-year-old quickly saw the exit doors bolted in Catalunya, leading to him revealing to Goal that he will be spending at least one more year in his current surroundings.
Eto’o is relieved to see a player he once played alongside committing to the only club side he has represented across a remarkable career to date.
The legendary former frontman is, however, aware that Messi cannot continue to carry Barca by himself.
“Messi is like my son. He has stayed and so I’m happy,” Eto’o, who spent five years at Camp Nou between 2004 and 2009, told reporters at a La Liga promotional event.
“But the heart of this team needs more Barcelona-style players, players who are tiki-taka, not box to box.”
Eto’o believes there are others on Barca’s books that are capable of providing inspiration, with the Cameroon icon stating his desire “to see a great (Sergio) Busquets at his best level again.
“When he is, Barcelona always win titles.”
While calling for more from the Blaugrana, who are now working under new boss Ronald Koeman, Eto’o believes 2020-21 can see the Catalan giants restore domestic dominance in Spain.
He added: “Barcelona is going to be the next league champion, but I want Mallorca, the team of my heart, to return to the top tier.”
Barcelona will take in their first outing under Koeman on Saturday, a friendly date with Gimnastic, before opening their La Liga campaign against Villarreal on September 27.