Barcelona icon Lionel Messi has given his take on the top young prospects looking to follow in his footsteps by naming 15 “youth on the rise” players.
Unfortunately, the likes of Super Eagles trio Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City), Samuel Chukweze (Villareal) and Victor Osimhen (Lille) were not mentioned on the list with all their displays at their different clubs.
The list makes up part of a set of Topps Champions League cards specially designed by Messi, featuring cards about the “Greatest Moments” of his career as well as “Top Talents” and “Youth on the Rise”.
He picked out 15 players in the latter category – including four Premier League stars in the form of Liverpool ‘s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Chelsea ‘s Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount plus Manchester City prospect Phil Foden.
The Argentinian maestro branded Alexander-Arnold “the future” for his attacking capabilities from full-back whilst hailing Pulisic's “great balance and agility”.
Barcelona star Messi declared Mount has “the potential to be one of the best” following his Chelsea breakthrough under Frank Lampard, whilst tipping “huge talent” Phil Foden to do “amazing things in the game”.
Fellow England star Jadon Sancho also made the list due to his dribbling ability”, along with Manchester United and Liverpool target Kai Havertz.
Others on the list are already big names, such as Kylian Mbappe, Joao Felix, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele.
Luka Jovic, Houssem Aouar, Joshua Kimmich and Benjamin Pavard round up the list with some interesting comments from Messi on the back of the cards regarding his thoughts on each player.
LIONEL MESSI‘S ‘YOUTH ON THE RISE'
- Trent Alexander-Arnold – “A full-back who is impressive going forward, it is the future.”
- Christian Pulisic – “He has great balance and agility.”
- Mason Mount – “Having watched him play he has the potential to be one of the best.”
- Phil Foden – “He will do amazing things in the game. He has a huge talent.”
- Jadon Sancho – “His ability to dribble past defenders is impressive.”
- Luka Jovic – “A magical player who makes the impossible, possible.”
- Kai Havertz – “His composure in front of goal is so impressive for such a young player”
- Eder Militao – “A phenomenal talent and a fierce competitor.”
- Ousmane Dembele – “His pace is frightening in training.”
- Houssem Aouar – “He is always calm with the ball at his feet with excellent technical quality.”
- Frenkie de Jong – “One of the most accomplished passers I have ever seen for his age.”
- Joao Felix – “One of the most exciting young players in the world right now.”
- Kylian Mbappe – “He is so fast and he can finish. Very dangerous.”
- Joshua Kimmich – “A hugely talented full-back who provides so many assists.”
- Benjamin Pavard – “A classy defender who can strike a ball so well.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago