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The former Real Madrid striker is backing his compatriot to develop into a star at Barcelona and feels Atletico Madrid could win La Liga this season

Former Croatia striker Davor Suker believes Alen Halilovic could develop into the next Lionel Messi - if his summer move to Barcelona goes through.

The 17-year-old has agreed a deal to join the Blaugrana from Dinamo Zagreb in the close season, with his solicitor insistent the move will still go ahead despite the transfer ban imposed on Barca by Fifa.

And Suker, who is now president of the Croatian Football Federation, says that the Spanish champions' supporters can put their faith in his young compatriot.

"Halilovic is a star," he is quoted as saying by Cope.

"He reminds me of Messi. He is young, but we can trust him and he handles the ball very well."

Barca have been struggling of late, but Suker believes that their recent struggles are just part of football.

"Life is like the moon - up one day and down the next. Hopefully we can enjoy Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta... In football you can't always be on top."

Suker, who represented Real Madrid as a player, is backing Atletico Madrid to claim the Liga title this season due to their superior fighting spirit as the title race goes down to the wire.

"No one was talking about Atletico Madrid at the start of the season and I'm very happy for them and their fans, who are an example," he added.

"Atletico have the biggest chance to win La Liga because they are more hungry."

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