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'There is only one Messi' – Deulofeu says comparisons hurt him

10:20 AM GMT+8 26/03/2017
GerardDeulofeu - Cropped
Being compared to the Argentina star early in his career was harmful to the AC Milan attacker

Former Barcelona attacker Gerard Deulofeu believes comparisons to Lionel Messi early in his career hurt his chances of success at the La Liga giants.

Deulofeu, 23, is part of Spain's squad after impressing since his move on loan to AC Milan from Everton in January.

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During his period at boyhood club Barca, he spent time on loan at Everton and Sevilla before completing a permanent move to the Premier League side in 2015.

Deulofeu said being compared to Barca and Argentina great Messi created unreasonable expectations for him at the club.

"It was more harmful than beneficial," he told Forza Milan.

"Normally I don't read the newspapers, but I remember a headline well and it ended up hurting me because there were too many expectations on me from Barcelona fans.

"There is only one Messi."

Deulofeu only made six competitive appearances for Barcelona before more successful spells at Everton, Sevilla and now Milan.