'Zaha is like Messi' - Crystal Palace winger compared to Barcelona star by De Boer

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The former Eagles manager believes the winger shares some similar attributes with the Argentinian and explains why he is fouled so regularly

Wilfried Zaha’s dribbling ability is like that of Barcelona star Lionel Messi, according to former Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer.

The Ivory Coast international has been the Eagles’ star man so far this season and has scored three goals in six Premier League games for the London club.

His performances have earned raved reviews from pundits and former professionals, none more so than De Boer, who was briefly Zaha’s manager at the beginning of last season.

Speaking as a guest on Sky Sports Monday Night Football , where De Boer’s former side went down 2-1 to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, he claimed it is Zaha’s quick feet that often result in him being fouled.

“What he (Zaha) has is a half step, you think as a defender you're going to touch the ball but he's so quick with it, he can make a half step, that he touches it with his other leg and you think you have the ball and you kick him,” said De Boer.

“(He is) like Messi, always every pass or every step he can touch the ball, right foot or left foot, Zaha has that same quality, every step he can touch the ball and then you get a lot of kicks.

“One against one he's unbelievable, so quick in the first ten metres, inside, outside. A good Zaha is almost unstoppable in my opinion.”

The former Manchester United man’s form in recent years has often seen him linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, but he remained at Palace this summer, to the delight of everyone at Selhurst Park.

Last season, the attacker scored nine goals in 29 Premier League appearances, and the Eagles lost all nine games that Zaha did not feature in.

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His showings over the past few years caused former Palace striker, Andy Johnson, to claim recently that Zaha is the best player in the club’s history.

“He is untouchable on his day, absolutely untouchable,” Johnson told the Five Year Plan Podcast .

“Everyone does talk about Wilf but you have to appreciate the other 10 players around him because he doesn’t work without those 10 players, but at the same time he’s a game-changer and a winner and Palace lose that confidence psychologically when he isn’t playing.”

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