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Ryan Gauld can shine at Sporting Lisbon

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Being bestowed with a nickname like 'Mini Messi' is enough pressure to make any young footballer crumble, but Ryan Gauld will have to carry that tag as he attempts to make the grade at Sporting Lisbon.

Add a €60million buy-out clause and you'd forgive the Scotish starlet for thinking the weight was of the world was on the shoulders of an 18-year-old boy from the coastal city of Aberdeen.

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Traditionally some of the world's best players have come from the exotics of South America or major European cities, but could a kid from the Granite City go on to stamp his mark on world football and perhaps overtake Lionel Messi as the most exciting footballer on the planet?

Lisbon

Having joined Sporting Lisbon from Dundee United for around £3million earlier this month, Gauld has been given the chance to follow in the footsteps of world greats such as Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

While he'll no doubt relish that opportunity, he'll know the pressure is on, and already teammates have recognised the scrutiny he'll come under.

Carlos Mane, himself a product of the Sporting youth academy, said: "It's not good for any player to be compared to another, especially someone like Messi who is unique.

"But if Gauld reaches 50% of the level of Messi, it will be sensational for us."

Before Gauld can think about dream of imitating the greats he'll need to acclimatise to his new surroundings, a new culture, a new way of life and a new style of football.

However, the changes he'll encounter could benefit a player who's game is far more suited to the sun, sangria and sexy football of a European league than midfield battles on heavy pitches during the long Scottish winters.

Versatile 

As a player who can take up any number of positions across the forward line, Gauld's game is typified by an ability to float past opposition defenders and deliver an end product.

In fact, such is his ability to create chances, Gauld claimed four assists in one game as his Dundee United romped to a 4-1 win.

There are goals in Gauld's game too. Last season he scored eight times in 38 appearances, a respectable return for a wide man playing only his first full season as a first team professional.

Having made his mark on Scottish football, Gauld will be given the chance to showcase his talents on the European stage with Sporting next season.

The club earned their place among Europe's elite by finishing second in the Primeira Liga last season, but they'll dream of going one better next season under new boss Marcos Silva, and Gauld could be a key figure.

Culture 

Yes, he will have to adapt to a whole new culture, and there's no guarantee he'll walk straight into the starting eleven, but should he be given the chance to impress you can expect him to take it.

Handling the pressure of a mega-bucks buy-out clause and comparisons to the world's best player will be tough for a player with just 50 career games under his belt, but if there's one British player who can live up to that hype it's Scotland's greatest hope - Ryan Gauld.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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