African legend Samuel Eto'o has described Lionel Messi as the 'one and only' after the Argentina forward handed Barcelona a transfer request on Tuesday.
Although he is contracted to the club until 2021 with a buy-out clause of €700 million, Messi sent a fax to the Spanish giants expressing his desire to leave the club for free this summer.
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has decided to end his over 20-year stay at Camp Nou, two weeks after Barcelona were humiliated in an 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final.
Messi joined Barcelona's La Masia in 2001 and he has spent his entire professional career with the Blaugrana, helping them to numerous successes since he made his competitive debut in October 2004.
He has scored a record 634 goals in 731 appearances for Barcelona with 34 trophies won which include 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League titles.
Eto’o who played with Messi between 2004 and 2009, has also reacted to the news with a five-word caption to his picture with the all-time La Liga top scorer.
"You are unique," the four-time African Footballer of the Year wrote on Instagram.
In a recent interview following Barca’s elimination from the Champions League, Eto’o said the Camp Nou outfit might have to change their name if ‘the all-time best player in the world’ leaves the club.
"I love Messi like he was my own son, I want the best for him. Barcelona is Messi and I think if Messi decides to leave, we'll have to change the name of the club,” Eto’o told Argentine TV channel TyCSports.
“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."