Former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o has joked that the Spanish club would have to change its name if star player Lionel Messi departed.
Barca are still reeling from an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals this past weekend.
One of the major narratives in the wake of the defeat has been speculation over the future of Lionel Messi, with reports claiming that the Argentine master wants to leave the Catalan club.
Eto’o, who played alongside Messi for five years at Barca, says they must do everything they can to hold onto their number 10.
“I love Messi like he was my own son, I want the best for him,” he told TyC Sports.
“Barcelona is Messi and I think if Messi decides to leave, we’ll have to change the name of the club. We are lucky in that at Barcelona, we have the best player in the world and of all-time, we have to do everything possible to ensure he finishes his career at Barcelona
Eto’o insists that while the Bayern defeat was damaging, Barcelona must shrug it off and prepare for next season, which begins in less than a month’s time.
“I really suffered myself with that defeat [to Bayern], not just for Leo, but for all of the lads,” the former Cameroon international explained.
“Someone who has never played the game will find it hard to understand, but these things exist in football – and in life too.
“Anyone can suffer a fall but you have to get up again and that is the most difficult part. The players, the bosses, the fans, I hope that we can lift ourselves up from this and begin to dream again for next season.”