- Lionel Messi's replacement will be hard to find according to former Barcelona star Sonny Anderson
- The Argentine star has been unstoppable since he gained promotion into the club's senior team
- Sonny Anderson, ex-Brazil star, admits the 31-year-old might be hard to replace at the club
Former Barcelona striker Sonny Anderson fears the Spanish club will find it difficult to replace Argentine forward Lionel Messi when he finally hangs his boots.
The 31-year-old has netted 22 goals and 10 assists in 22 La Liga appearances this campaign while his tally for the season stands at 30 goals in 29 matches in all competitions.
Anderson, who spent just two season at Camp Nou arrived at the club in 1997 and scored 16 topflight goals in 47 matches.
He further stated that it would be harder to replace Messi than it was for him to fill Ronaldo boots.
"It's complicated,” said Anderson told Goal of his time at Camp Nou.
"For me, it was a very difficult time because when I arrived, I cost more money than Ronaldo and the fans expected from me a similar performance.
"Ronaldo was a unique player and the fans didn't know much about me because I played in France. After Messi leaves, the player who replaces the No.10 shirt at Barcelona will have an even more difficult time of it than I did.
"I already said at the time, I did not come to replace Ronaldo because it was a new project and very different, but it did not work out as I expected and [then-coach Louis] Van Gaal's system was not designed for the striker to score many goals."
Barca have a date with French League side Lyon in their Champions League clash on Tuesday night and they are clearly favourites for the game unless if the Ligue 1 side causes an upset.
"Messi is 100 per cent capable of winning any game on his own and at any moment he wants, and that is why Valverde takes care of him at Barcelona," he said.
“He wants him to be at his best. Barcelona will suffer a lot when he is not there, so I see very well that they take care of him.
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“I fully understand that he was not in the starting line against Real Madrid, and that the team has the quality to play some games without Messi.
“But as a rule Valverde has to try to get the most out of him because he is the only player in the world capable of deciding a game on his own.”
He added: "The Lyon game is more difficult than it seems,” said Anderson. “Already against Manchester City and PSG, they have made good duels this season. It is a team that usually improves when playing against the strongest in Europe.
“I think with or without Messi, it will be very difficult for them. Lyon can get a good result at home but at Camp Nou it will be very difficult for them to do what Messi does.”
Anderson believes the current Barca team is far stronger than the one he played for 20 years ago, helped by improved facilities, changes in competition format and plenty of titles.
"Many things have changed since then," he said. "Before, we only had one pitch to train on, but today they have a fantastic sports city.
"It has changed for the better, fortunately, although at that time the players had much more tranquility to go for a walk and there was less pressure than now.
"We didn’t use to go through the Champions League rounds. Sometimes it was difficult to qualify.
"Now they have won many titles, whereas before they had certain historical urgencies that they no longer have.
"Today, Barcelona's best 11 are the best 11 in the world in their posts. We were very good but not the best.”
Legit.ng recalls that Lionel Messi scored the only goal that lifted Barcelona over Real Valladolid in their La Liga clash at the Camp Nou.
The goal took the Argentine's tally in the Spanish League to 22 goals after 22 round of matches this term, with ten other assists credited to him.
Meanwhile, Barca have now opened a seven-point gap on the table with the season gradually coming to an end.
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