Former FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o has recalled his first memory of Lionel Messi.
The retired Cameroon international claimed he knew, in 2005 already, that Messi was the best footballer in the world.
He recalled a phone conversation with Patrick Vieira ahead of the Joan Gamper Trophy tournament, in which Barcelona were to face Juventus, that year.
"He was the best footballer in the world already, but no one knew. I remember speaking to Patrick Vieira on the phone," Eto'o told FourFourTwo when asked about his first Messi memory.
"There was a game between Barcelona and Juventus, and I said to him: 'There is a player in our team who will score the best goals ever for the next 25 years – he'll be the best player in the world.'
"He asked me who that player was. I told him it was Messi, and he replied: 'Then I am going to kick him so hard that he’ll never play again!'
"He was joking, of course. In the game, Messi nutmegged him and he just smiled!"
The game, in which the then 18-year-old Messi showed some superb form, ended 2-2 and is widely seen as the match when Messi announced himself on football's world stage.
Eto'o spent four seasons playing alongside the Argentine – a time during which the duo lifted eight trophies, including two UEFA Champions League titles.
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