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Fabián Ruiz

‘Fabian Ruiz will soon have everybody talking’ – Barcelona target hailed by Samassekou as toughest opponent

15:55 GMT 24/03/2020
Fabian Ruiz Napoli
The Napoli midfielder has started to generate talk of a big-money transfer, with the Spaniard being heavily linked with a return to La Liga

Fabian Ruiz has seen his performances for Napoli spark talk of interest from Barcelona, and Hoffenheim star Diadie Samassekou expects the midfielder’s stock to remain on the rise.

At 23 years of age, the Spanish schemer is being heavily linked with a return to his homeland.

He was allowed to leave Real Betis back in 2018, with Napoli taking a calculated gamble on a player with plenty of potential to unlock.

The Serie A outfit have helped Ruiz to raise his game and reputation, with 70 appearances taken in for the Italian heavyweights.

Those outings have brought him onto Barca’s radar and allowed six senior international caps to be collected with Spain.

Samassekou is not surprised by the transfer speculation now building around a hot prospect, with the Mali international admitting that Ruiz is the toughest opponent he has faced.

The Hoffenheim holding midfielder told Goal and Spox of a man he locked horns with in Europa League competition while on the books at Red Bull Salzburg: “That [hardest foe] was Fabian Ruiz of Napoli, even if he is perhaps not so well known.

“It was incredibly difficult to defend against him because he is extremely agile and only ever needs two touches.

“I sometimes try to show my friends why it's so hard to defend. I've played against a lot of good teams and players, but people will be talking a lot about Ruiz in the next few years.”

Samassekou is among those currently being forced to take in an enforced break during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 24-year-old is accustomed to overcoming adversity, with his career having been launched in war-torn Mali before sealing a move to Austria in 2015.

“When the war started, I was in the academy,” Samassekou said.

“I had nightmares for a week, but now the situation is better. The big cities in which my parents live don't feel as much of the great suffering that the other regions are exposed to.

“It's hard to hear people die in a different part of the country every day, but my family isn't directly affected.

“Every country has its own problems. For example, I am helping a family that lost a father in the war and now does not have enough money to eat. That is the reality in my home. The soldiers leave their families behind and there is no security for it.”