Lionel Messi. It’s a name that has fascinated the world of football for nearly two decades. 681 goals, 315 assists, 7 Ballon d’Or, 10 La Liga titles, four Champions League and the list goes on and on.
The influence of the Argentine was so great that many called him the greatest player in the history of football. Thus, clubs, media and fans alike began searching for the next superstar, Lionel Messi, the next superstar who will dazzle the world of football like the original Messi.
This led to the emergence of a trend where the player with enormous potential and talent has been dubbed the ‘next Messi’. From Japan in the east to Mexico in the west, it looked like Messi was being baptized every year. Sometimes the tag is given by the coach of the player in question, and sometimes by the media.
So, how has Messi performed in their careers?
Takefusa Kubo – Japan’s Messi
Dubbed the Messi of the Land of the Rising Sun, Takefusa Kubo still has a chance to realize his potential. The 20-year-old joined the famous Barcelona player La Masia Academy His incredible ability to score goals led to his promotion from Barcelona U11s to U14s. However, his time at Barcelona ended abruptly as FIFA found Barcelona in violation of the transfer rules for players under the age of 18.
FIFA has imposed a transfer ban on Barcelona, which means that he is not eligible to play for the Catalan club. Therefore, he returned to Japan and joined the youth team of FC Tokyo. He became the youngest player and scorer in the J-League.
His performances caught the interest of Real Madrid, who signed him in 2019. Since then, he has been on loan and currently plays for RCD Mallorca.
Takefusa Kubo scored a goal for Japan and crushed 4 players. pic.twitter.com/2QXlZ6dep7
– Gul Gul Ha (longbengrower) May 9, 2022
Mohamed Salah – Egyptian Messi
By the end of his career, Mohamed Salah will be the player closest to emulating Messi’s career. The Egyptian initially struggled badly in England after his move to Chelsea fell short. However, he revived his career in Fiorentina and then in Rome. This prompted Liverpool to buy him, and it was probably his best investment ever.
The 29-year-old has an impressive track record at the club, scoring 155 goals and making 63 assists in 250 matches. In addition, he helped the club win the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. He scored 30 goals and 16 assists for his name this season. In terms of performance, he and Karim Benzema are the frontrunners for the Ballon d’Or awards.
Xherdan Shaqiri – Messi Alpine
Another successful player out of all the Messsis team, Xherdan Shqiari has a career and the trophy award that most footballers dream of. Three Bundesliga titles, one Premier League title, two Champions League titles and two Club World Cup titles show his impressive career.
He has also been part of epic matches like Liverpool’s impressive 4-0 comeback to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League.
After his brilliance with FC Basel, he was selected by Bayern Munich, as he was part of the team that won the treble in 2012-13. Then his trip took him to Inter Milan, followed by Stoke City and finally concluded at the Liverpool Stadium led by Jurgen Klopp. His three years on Merseyside would give him a league title (Liverpool’s first in 30 years) and a Champions League title. Shaqiri currently plays for the Chicago Fire in the MLS.
Xherdan Shaqiri in the second half against Barcelona:
4/9 last third pass
1 big opportunity created
Has stepped up. 😮 👏 pic.twitter.com/DyEhS9Gtq2
– StatmanDave May 7, 2019
Martin Odegaard – Norway’s Messi
Few players might have been at the heart of the world of football at the age of 16. Martin Odegaard was one of them. In 2015, he was considered a future star, chasing several top clubs across Europe to sign him. Real Madrid won the race in the end.
However, it seemed as if he would not be able to live up to his potential for the next two years. However, after two fruitful seasons at Vitesse and Real Sociedad, he turned his career around and moved to Arsenal on loan. Arsenal impressed with his performance in the 2020-21 season and made his move permanent.
He quickly gained the advantage with a return of six goals and four assists with Arsenal well placed to finish in the top four.
Allen Halilovic – Croatian Messi
Alan Halilovic, like Kubo, was a product of La Masia was Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects was in 2014. The Catalans signed the Croatian from Dinamo Zagreb and were immediately placed in the Barcelona B team. However, it failed to live up to his expectations. After that, he found himself on a journey through Europe. He has played for Sporting Gijon, Hamburg, Las Palmas, AC Milan, Standard Liege, Heerenveen, Birmingham City and Reading.
I just remembered Allen Halilovic.
What happened to that man?
– Kenway (@okafo_obiora) May 8, 2022
At twenty-five, he is still young, but it seems unlikely that he will be able to become the player he was once described as.
Read more: Why Barcelona Stadium is called the Camp Nou
Sardar Azmoun – Iranian Messi
Back in 2015, another player was awarded the Messi tag. His name was Sardar Azmoun, who at that time was playing with Rubin Kazan in Russia. However, even with several clubs chasing his signature, he stayed at Rubin Kazan before joining fellow club Zenit St, Petersburg.
His three years at Zenit were so successful he found the back of the net 62 times, and he moved to Bayer Leverkusen, where he currently plays.
Patrick Roberts – England’s Messi
It looked as if 2015 was when every team was after Messi as Manchester City signed England’s Patrick Roberts. The teenager broke into the scene in Fulham and was picked up by City.
After just one season, he was sent on an 18-month loan to Scottish club Celtic. Although he won seven titles there (three league titles, two Scottish Cups and two Scottish Super Cups) in his three years, he failed to play regularly due to injuries.
He then went on loan to Girona, Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Derby County and Troyes. Roberts currently plays for the first league team, Sunderland.
I think Patrick Roberts just needed someone to put an arm around him and tell him how much he can be, you don’t play for Manchester City etc if you have bullshit. You must have something about yourself. And Alex Neil seems to have done just that. #safc
– Mickey Forster (@mickyforster) May 9, 2022
Diego Linez – Mexican Messi
22-year-old Diego Linez is another Messi who has time on his side. Lainez is a product of the Club America Academy. The youngster spent five years in the youth team before being promoted to the first team in 2017.
He finally showed a glimpse of his talent in the 2018-2019 season, as he scored six goals and two assists.
Real Betis, the Spanish league team, moved quickly to sign him. However, his three years at Los Verdeblancos were disappointing as he failed to get promoted to the team.
Ryan Gold – Scotland’s Messi
In his debut with Dundee United at the age of 17, Ryan Gould considered the next big thing for Scottish football. After that, his stock soared as he helped Dundee reach the Scottish Cup Final.
Then, strangely enough, he moved to Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, where he failed to gain a starting point. He then went on loan to various clubs such as Vitoria de Setúbal, Aves, Varennes, and Hibernian. He now plays in the MLS for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Luca Romero – The Next Messi
The last player to join Messi’s club is Luca Romero. The youngster was born in Durango, Mexico to Argentine parents and currently plays in Spain for Italian club Lazio. He currently holds Spanish, Argentine and Mexican passports and is eligible to play for any of these three countries. Romero’s family then moved to Spain, where he joined the RCD Youth Academy Mallorca. His rise was rapid as he made his first-team debut in the 2020-21 season.
At the beginning of the following season, he was bought by the Italian club Lazio. Will Messi be the next? Well, only time will tell.