There is only one Lionel Messi.
The Argentine is perhaps the best player that has ever played the sport of football.
Football will be a poorer place without him and we’re already looking around to see who will follow in his footsteps. In fact, we’ve been on the lookout for many years for someone who could replace the 34-year-old.
Of course, there is Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland looking to fill the rather large void left behind by Messi. But they’re very different players to the Barcelona star.
The ultimate Lionel Messi quiz
But down the years, many players have been tipped to be the ‘next Lionel Messi.’
Whether it’s from the media or pundits, there have been 17 players touted to be the next Messi.
Some have gone on to achieve greatness. Some have failed to live up to the hype.
And now, a brilliant thread from @CheGiaevara has looked at all 17 ‘next Messi’s’ to see what has happened to them.
Let’s take a look:
Bojan | Free agent
Gai Assulin | Crema
Alen Halilovic | Free agent
Iker Muniain | Athletic Bilbao
Humam Tariq | Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya
Ryan Gauld | Vancouver Whitecaps
Ryo Miyaichi | Yokohama F. Marinos
Takefusa Kubo | Real Madrid
Lee Seung-woo | Portimonense, on loan from Sint-Truiden
Mohamed Salah | Liverpool
Christian Atsu | Al-Raed
Marko Marin | Free agent
Xherdan Shaqiri | Liverpool
Sardar Azmoun | Zenit Saint Petersburg
Martin Odegaard | Real Madrid
Gerard Deulofeu | Udinese
Juan Iturbe | Aris
Perhaps it’s time to stop dubbing young stars as the ‘next Lionel Messi’ as it obviously does more damage than good for many of them.
Perhaps Robert Lewandowski summed it up best last year when he said there won’t be another Messi for another century.
“He is a great player, one of the greatest in the history of football,” Lewandowski told Ole.
“I know that the expectations around him are enormous and what he has already achieved as a footballer is something that perhaps no one will achieve.
“Maybe you have to wait 100 years for someone like him to be born again. With what he has already done, he is and will be one of the greatest in all of history.”