Franco Bartucci won’t be a name familiar with too many readers, but give it a few years and he could be a household name across the world.
He impressed scouts during a match between Estudiantes against Barcelona in Spain and will now have the opportunity to make a career for himself at the Camp Nou.
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Bartucci’s story bears some similarities to that of Messi, who was signed by Barcelona at the age of 13.
And the Argentine youngster has revealed that Messi spoke to him - and offered some words of advice - before his trial.
Bartucci reveals what Messi told him
“When I first came to Spain I had butterflies in the stomach,” Bartucci was quoted as saying by Marca, with the quotes translated by 101 Great Goals. “Two days before training started I was a bit nervous. But I said to myself ‘relax, do what I know and enjoy it.’
“It was a unique experience and one that won’t be repeated. As the moment [for the trial] approached I trained more. Messi is my idol and he spoke to me and said I should work hard because everything can be achieved with effort and commitment.”
Bartucci: I won't forget it
“I won’t forget it,” Bartucci added about meeting Messi, one of his heroes, for the first time. “He asked me if I would play at La Masia and I simply said yes.”
Speaking with Messi should give him confidence
Unless Bartucci shows Messi-esque levels of excellence, it’s safe to assume Barcelona fans will need to wait a good few years before seeing the South American make his first-team debut.
However, it shouldn’t be underestimated how much confidence and belief he’ll take from his conversation with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Like Bartucci, Messi was nervous when he was asked to fly all the way from Rosario to Barcelona for a trial with one of the world’s biggest football clubs.
But once he crossed that line, everything came naturally for arguably the greatest player of all time.
Will Franco Bartucci prove to be another Lionel Messi? Have your say by leaving a comment below.