Lionel Messi seemed to stop the endless stream of Argentinians being hailed as the new Maradona.  

Now we look for the new Messi instead, and here are five candidates.

Erik Lamela - Roma

Lamela is a 20-year-old attacking midfielder who is currently playing for Roma in Italy.  

The young Argentine dribbles like Messi, and is equally adept with either foot, despite standing at 6ft, relatively tall for this type of player.  

He began his career at River Plate with four goals in 36 games before moving to Serie A for €12 million.

He has 14 goals from 43 appearance in the Italian capital, whilst he also has three goals from four games for Argentina Under 20s.

Lamela made his debut for the senior national side in 2011, playing for just under an hour against Paraguay in a friendly.

This season, Lamela is having his best goalscoring season yet, with 10 in 16 games, indicating that bigger things could be just around the corner.

Sergio Araujo - Barcelona (loan)

21-year-old Sergio Araujo is currently on loan at Barcelona, joining them in July 2012 from Boca Juniors.

So far this season, he has played 18 games for Barca ‘B’ team, scoring five goals.

The young striker seems to have it all; he is can use both feet, is a threat in the air and has bags of skill.

Araujo has played for Argentina at Under 17, Under 20 and Under 22 level, but breaking into the Catalan giants first-team is going to be tough, so he may have to make his name elsewhere to really make it big.

Juan Iturbe - River Plate (loan)

Iturbe, 19, can play on the wing or behind the main striker, recently joining River Plate on loan from Portugal’s FC Porto.  

Born in Buenes Aires, Iturbe began his career in Paraguay, representing them at youth level, but after a fall out with Cerro Porteno and the Paraguayan FA he decided to return to his native Argentina.

More similar in size to the traditional dribblers like Messi and Maradona, Iturbe has four goals in nine games for the Argentine Under 20 team.

Funes Mori - River Plate

Born in Mendoza, Funes Mori is also at River Plate after growing up in the US.

He has played 87 games scoring 18 goals for the Argentinian club, whilst also holding one senior international cap.

At 6ft 1", the number nine has power to go with his pace and skill, and is perhaps more like the Brazilian Ronaldo than Messi, a type of player who could do well in England one day.

Ezequiel Cirigliano - River Plate

Ezequiel Cirigliano is another River Plate youngster that big things are expected of.  Whilst being linked with moves to both Manchester clubs and Arsenal, the diminutive central midfielder has played for Argentina at Under 17 and Under 20 level.  

Cirigliano has 55 appearances for River Plate and it surely won’t be long before a move to Europe is on cards.  

The 21-year-old has been compared to both Xavi Hernandez and Javier Mascherano, and what club doesn't want one of those?

 

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