What happened to Victor Vazquez - who was said to be better than Barcelona's Lionel Messi

Barcelona v Rubin Kazan - UEFA Champions League

When it comes to European youth teams very few compare to Barcelona's class of '87.

Named after the birth year of Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique, the Blaugrana's Under-15 side from 2002/03 was simply incredible.

They won three trophies that season - including the Copa Catalunya in April - and didn't drop a single point in the league.

Messi (2) and Pique were the goalscorers in the Copa Catalunya final as Barcelona U15s capped a dominant campaign with a 3-0 win.

Fabregas ended up joining Arsene Wenger's Arsenal that summer and Pique moved to Manchester United with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2004.

As we know, Messi stayed with Barca and became arguably the greatest of all time.

All three players have enjoyed phenomenal careers since their days in Barcelona's youth ranks, yet one name was tipped to be even better.

BETTER THAN MESSI?

That's right, one kid was once rated even higher than Messi.

Victor Vazquez was Messi's best friend at youth level and according to Fabregas, the pair used to compete against each other to see who could score the most goals.

"I remember Messi and Victor were by far the best players in our team," he said. "Sometimes they would go in for head-to-head duels. If one scored four in one game, the other would hit five."

Even Vazquez once said: "They were talking about me more than Messi."

Barcelona's Victor Vazquez (L) of Spain

So what exactly happened to Vazquez? Clearly he was a huge talent at youth level if people were saying he was better than Messi.

Vazquez only ever made three senior appearances for Barcelona - one in La Liga and two in the Champions League - and mainly featured for the reserves.

He scored one goal under Pep Guardiola against Rubin Kazan in 2010 after returning from a serious knee injury. In that moment it seemed the Spaniard might have a future.

But injuries and a lack of opportunities saw Vazquez join Club Brugge in 2011. His knee injury from two years before had such an impact that he wasn't as mobile anymore.

2017 MLS Cup - Seattle Sounders v Toronto FC

Vazquez's vision and intelligence remained, though, and he enjoyed a successful four years in Belgium, winning Footballer of the Year in his last season.

A $1.5m move to Mexico's Cruz Azul followed at the end of 2015 but Vazquez only lasted one year, making 23 appearances and only providing one goal and one assist.

MSL side Toronto FC came knocking at the beginning of 2017 and it's in Canada where Vazquez has rediscovered his form, scoring 10 goals and assisting 11 in his first season.

Vazquez never lived up to his potential of being better than Messi at U15 level and it's a shame that injuries had such a damaging effect.

News Now - Sport News