Barcelona’s ‘New Messi’ Tipped to Make Debut This Season

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Getty Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi

Barcelona’s newest starlet is being tipped to make his first-team debut for the club this season. Ilias Akhomach is the latest player to be dubbed the ‘new Messi’ and has already made his debut for the reserve team despite only turning 16 in April.

Cristina Cubero at Mundo Deportivo, reports that supporters “should not be surprised” to see the teenager feature for the first team “in the coming months.”

Manager Ronald Koeman has already decided Ilias is “the latest player” he wants to see training with the first team, while the Dutch coach is also keen to “recover the essence”
of the club by trusting in youth and playing attractive football.

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Ilias Making an Impact at Barcelona

Ilias is part of the club’s Under 19 team, Juvenil A, but has already featured for Barcelona B, the club’s reserve team, this season. The teenager started in their defeat to Andorra last time out.

The youngster had already featured for Barca B in pre-season and impressed manager Francisco Javier García Pimienta. The Barca B boss told Sport that Ilias is certainly in his plans for the 2020-21 campaign.

It was the last game of pre-season and we had players out and he’s already shown that he’s pushing with the youth teams. He’s a cheeky, brave player with a lot of quality, but he’s only 16. We have very young players and we can’t load them with too much responsibility.What’s clear is that the academy is bringing through a lot of players and he’s one that we will have in mind this season, for sure.

If the youngster can impress for Barca B then he’ll hope he can follow in the footsteps of Ronald Araujo and Riqui Puig who have both been promoted from the second string to the first team this season.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s record-breaking forward Ansu Fati’s career progression offers even more hope. The 18-year-old went straight from Juvenil A to the first team without playing a single game for Barcelona B.

Kluivert To Blame for ‘New Messi’ Tag

Of course, comparisons with Messi always bring unenviable expectations, and Barca academy director Patrick Kluivert is to blame for likening the starlet to the club captain. The Dutchman tagged the youngster with the label after some eye-catching displays for the club’s youth teams, as reported by Cadena SER.

Replacing Messi looks to be an impossible task, but Barca will still be hoping that Ilias cam fulfil his obvious potential and go on and become a big success at the Camp Nou.

Koeman has been willing to trust his youngsters this season, handing regular starts to teenagers Sergino Dest, Fati, and Pedri in the early weeks of the season. The Dutch coach told a new conference before El Clasico he’s not afraid of trusting in youth.

The most important thing is the performance of each player. I see no problem with having young people. To have experience they have to play games. I only think of the best team for tomorrow, it does not depend on the age of a player.

The Dutch coach was true to his word and started 17-year-old Pedri against Real Madrid after being impressed by the youngster in training. His actions will offer hope to Ilias that the the first team is not too far away if he can impress the Barca boss.

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