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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 that Alen Halilovic, who had agreed to join Barcelona before the club's transfer ban, has the potential to develop into the next Lionel Messi.

Barca confirmed that the 17-year-old was set to join them from Dinamo Zagreb in the close season although it remains to be seen whether the club will be allowed to go through with the transfer after their two-year ban from signing players.

Halilovic's agent remains convinced the deal will still be completed, however, 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 recorded just one win in their last four games 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 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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