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18/09/2012 - 00:46 BST

Eden Hazard Will Eventually Replace Lionel Messi at Barcelona Insists Lille President

Tuesday, 18th September, 2012

Lille president Michel Seydoux believes that one day Eden Hazard will replace Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

Seydoux reluctantly sold Hazard to Champions League winners Chelsea in the summer, banking €40M for the Belgian forward after concluding that it was "financially impossible" to keep hold of him for a further season.

The man who picked up the Ligue 1 title with Lille in 2011 and won two successive Ligue 1 Player of the Year awards under Rudi Garcia, has now begun to take the English Premier League by storm, settling instantly and breezing past defenders for fun.

There seems little doubt that the 21-year-old will be a huge success at Stamford Bridge, though Seydoux sees an even bigger stage as providing Hazard with a challenge worthy of his talents in the future.

Indeed, the Lille supremo thinks that the forward will eventually land one of the most difficult tasks in world football – replacing Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

"I’ll make a bet, he’ll be at Barcelona [one day]", Seydoux told L’Equipe TV, adding "At some time, I see him taking Messi’s place."

Messi, at 25 years old, still seems to have many years ahead of him at the Camp Nou, while Chelsea will not want to part with Hazard in a hurry.

Recently Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted that the club want Messi to finish his career at the Catalan giants, with a job also earmarked for him upon his retirement.

It remains to be seen if Seydoux’s prediction will come true, but his words are yet another sign of just how highly Hazard is rated by his former club.


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