Sky Sports have caused a stir with a video about Liverpool’s 7-year-old academy player Arat Hosseini.
On Thursday, the broadcaster aired a coverage piece on Arat – who has been dubbed the next Lionel Messi – and his remarkable popularity online.
At the time of writing, Arat has 5.8 million followers on Instagram. His account, managed by his dad, is filled with clips of the young lad performing various tricks and skills at home, training and playing in matches.
Arat has achieved global fame and has even had the chance to talk to celebrities including DJ Khaled and Novak Djokovic.
And Messi himself has taken notice of the young Liverpool player, saying he has “a lot of class”.
Sky Sports’ coverage of Arat Hosseini
We’re going to be hearing Arat’s name an awful lot in the coming years but plenty of fans believe all the attention is too much at this stage in his career.
Sky Sports interviewed Arat and his father, Mohammad, showcasing the youngster performing tricks in his house and asking him about his ambitions.
“To be the best football player in the world,” Arat replied when asked what his ultimate dream is.
His father was also asked why he started sharing Arat’s skills on social media in the first place.
“What he was doing was so abnormal for a small child,” he replied. “He just wanted a place to store the videos for his own enjoyment.”
Yet the video didn’t appeal to everyone.
Many fans on Twitter are questioning the need for such coverage, claiming Arat is at an age where he should simply be enjoying his football and not be pushed into the spotlight.
One fan wrote: “Just let the little lad enjoy his football. He’s 7 years old and doesn’t need to be in the spotlight.”
Another added: “This is wrong on so many levels.”
In Sky Sports’ video, Arat says he’s used to the attention and he “really likes” it.
But there are too many stories out there of players who failed to live up the hype that the concern is justified.