Makhachkala: Anzhi Makhachkala striker Samuel Eto`o has labelled Lionel Messi a "god" and praised his grounded personality.
The pair spent five years together at Barcelona between 2004 and 2009 and having formed a firm friendship with the Argentine off the pitch, the Cameroon international is desperate to see him add international honours to his trophy cabinet.
"Messi is a god, as a person and even more as a player," he said in an interview.
"I hope that he wins the World Cup with Argentina. To the gods of the world, all I ask is that you give him that chance because I have seen him grow. I can only hope for the best because I have seen and know what a good boy he is."
The 31-year-old also spoke about the effect former Blaugrana team-mate Ronaldinho had on him during his time with the Catalan club.
"He is a genius, and not just in football. The day I was upset, I did not play well, but when you saw him arrive in the locker room with a smile on his face, you knew he was going to roll," he added.
Eto`o moved to Russian club Anzhi in 2011 after a two-year spell with Inter.
I retired three years ago but I am still training with Arsenal because I have a good relation with the club and Arsene Wenger. So it's been easy to come out of retirement.