Lionel Messi recently revealed that his son, Thiago, isn’t a fan of football.
“I don’t buy him many balls or force him to play with them because he doesn’t like them that much,” Messi told Telefe, an Argentinian television station, per Goal.
Given that his father is a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and his Godfather is Manchester City star Sergio Aguero, you would have thought football was in Thiago Messi’s blood from birth.
However, it seems that Leo has managed to convince his three-year-old son to try the beautiful game by having him join Barcelona’s baby set-up.
That is according to Mundo Deportivo, who claim Thiago will be one of the first children to take part in a pilot programme aimed at 3-5 year olds.
The FCBEscola is a stepping stone to the prestigious La Masia and, if a player is good enough, Barcelona’s first team.
The idea behind the programme is to ingrain the Barcelona DNA into players at the earliest stage possible. No, we can’t imagine three-year-olds playing fluent tiki-taka, either.
It does seem a clever way for Barcelona to sign all the local talent, however. Virtually no young talents will slip through the net if they are joining the club at such a young age.
The FCBEscola is open to children of the club’s five professional sections, so Thiago could well be joined by Gerard Pique’s son Milan.
La Masia's alumni
Barcelona’s La Masia academy is famous for producing Leo Messi and other greats including Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol.
It has been held up as one of the best development facilities in the world and is a major force behind the success of Barcelona, as well as the Spanish national team in recent years.
Players join at a young age - Messi was 13 when he arrived from Argentina - and thus have to learn to cope without home comforts.
Iniesta's "worst day"
It was a transitional period that Iniesta simply didn’t take to, the Barcelona maestro admitting he spent the worst day of his life at La Masia.
“Yes, it seems absurd, but true, the worst day of my life I spent in La Masia,” Iniesta wrote in his autobiography.
"I had a feeling of abandonment, of loss, as if I had pulled something from inside, deep inside of me.
"It was a very tough time but I wanted to be there because I knew it was best for my future, of course.
"It was a very bitter pill to swallow because I had to leave my family, not seeing them every day and not having them close ... it was very hard.
"I chose it for me, it's true, and it made me ... it made me. .. "