The Next Messi 16 Promising Players - A Look at Their Journeys
The Next Messi 16 Promising Players – A Look at Their Journeys

Lionel Messi is one of the most famous names in football, and many people think he is the best player to ever play the game.

Messi has left behind a legacy that few can match. His unique mix of skill, speed, and dangerous finishing makes many people worry that no one will ever be able to match his output and effect on the game.

But over the years, many players have been called “the next Messi,” even though none of them have been able to do as much with the ball as the Argentine wizard.

So, join GIVEMESPORT as we look at 16 players who have been called “the next Messi” at some point in their careers and see where they are now.

Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard is likely the best player on this list and the one who came closest to Lionel Messi.

Even so, Odegaard’s biggest fans have to admit that he’s not even close to being as good as The GOAT.

Even though he was called “the next Messi” when he was young, the road of the Arsenal leader has not been easy. Odegaard is now seen as one of the best players in the league, which is what many people thought he would be when he joined Real Madrid at the age of 15.

Even though the Norwegian made a big change, it took him a while to get going. Many people worried that it wouldn’t work out for him.

Lee Sung-woo

Lee Seung-woo was once called the “Korean Messi.” He has played in Italy, Holland, and Portugal, but he has never been as good as Messi.

The 25-year-old who scored the winner at had less than 20 goals to his name. Barcelona is now in Korea to play Suwon FC. It doesn’t look like he’ll ever hit the heights that his early promise suggested he could.

Mateusz Musialowski

There was a lot of excitement when Musialowski joined Liverpool, but just a few years after being called “the Polish Messi,” the player is rumored to be leaving Anfield and going back to Poland.

Some experts and fans said that Mateusz’s style was like Messi’s because of some of the goals he scored and the way he played in general, but it looks like his career won’t go anywhere near that far.

Musiaowski has had trouble getting on any of Liverpool’s young teams, and local papers say he may be leaving the club soon.

Gelson Martins

Gelson Martins was compared to Messi and even Cristiano Ronaldo after his time at Sporting CP, but he hasn’t been able to match the work and output of either player.

Martins is still an important player for Monaco in Ligue 1. He has scored 11 goals in 87 league games, so even though he didn’t become the “next Messi,” he has still had a good career.

Iker Munain

Iker Muniain, who was once called “the Spanish Messi,” has always played for Athletic Bilbao. He has never played for another team.

Even though he hasn’t been as good as Messi, Muniain has become a legend at Bilbao. He has scored 54 league goals in more than 400 games for the club, and he has had a great career in La Liga.

Ryo Miyaichi

Ryo Miyaichi was once called the “Japanese Messi.” He now plays for Yokohama F. Marinos in the top league in Japan.

Fans might remember that when Miyaichi was signed by Arsenal in 2011, Arsene Wenger saw that he had a lot of promise. Many people thought he could become a world-class player.

Miyaichi wasn’t as good as the scouts thought he would be, though, and he left Arsenal in 2015 after making just one league start for them.


Munir El Haddadi is another player who came up through Barcelona’s school. Like Messi, many experts were very excited about his promise.

Munir has always played in La Liga. He has played for Sevilla, Alaves, Valencia, Getafe, and even Barcelona, where he made 33 starts and scored 40 league goals.

The winger Munir has had a good career in football. He has won La Liga, the Europa League, the Champions League, and the Club World Cup, but even he would say that his career hasn’t been as good as Messi’s.

Yassine Benzia

The French-Algerian player went through the Lyon youth school before going on to Lille. He was once called “the next Messi” because of how good he was.

Even with all that promise, Benzia hasn’t done nearly as well as he was supposed to. He now plays football for Qarabag in Azerbaijan.

Ryan Gould

Fans of football manager will know the name Ryan Gould. When he was young, he was called the “Scottish Messi,” but he hasn’t lived up to his promise.

As a young player, Gould’s teachers had high hopes for him. However, his move from Dundee to Sporting CP in Portugal really slowed down his growth, and he now plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS at the age of 27.

Marko Marin

Marko Marin was once called the “German Messi,” but his career hasn’t really lived up to that name.

Marin has been without a club for the past year. He has moved around a lot and even played for Chelsea, but he hasn’t been able to live up to the standards that were set for him as a young player.

Juan Iturbe

Juan Iturbe was often compared to Messi because of how he dribbled and how low his center of gravity was, but he hasn’t even come close to Messi’s success.

The winger now plays for Gremio in Brazil, but he had a good career in Italy with Roma, Torino, and Hellas Verno.

The Paraguayan even played for Bournemouth on loan in the Premier League, but he hasn’t lived up to promises, even though he was a late player.

Alen Halilovic

After moving to Barcelona in 2014, Alen Halilovic was compared to Lionel Messi, but the Croat has gotten worse since then.

During his two years at Barcelona, Halilovic never played in the league, so he ended up at Reading in the Championship for the 2021–22 season.

The playmaker now plays for Fortuna Sittard in Holland. Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t been anywhere near as good as Barcelona thought he would be when they signed him.

Jean Mary Dongou

At one point, Jean Marie Dongou, another player who went to La Masia, was put in the same category as Messi.

Dongou went through the Samuel Eto’o school before joining Barcelona. He is currently without a club because he left Anagennisi Karditsa FC, a second-division team in Greece, last year.

Dongou can always say he was a Barcelona player, since he played in one league game during his year there, but he can’t say he was anywhere near as good as Messi.

Giovani Dos Santos

Giovani dos Santos, who came out of La Masia, was also called “the next Messi” while he was in the Spainish giants’ school.

When the Mexican scored three goals in 26 league games for Barcelona before moving to England with Tottenham in 2008, things looked good at first.

The tricky player then moved around Spain, Turkey, and even the United States with LA Galaxy. Since 2021, when his time with America, a top club in Mexico, ended, he has been without a club.

Gerard Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu went through Barcelona’s youth program and was thought to be the next Messi.

But after playing for teams like Watford and Everton in England and AC Milan and Udinese in Italy, Deulofeu himself would say that hasn’t happened.

The winger has still had a good career. He has scored 69 goals in just over 300 games for his club, and he has scored one goal in four games for the Spanish national team.


When Messi was still young, Bojan Krkic was called the rightful heir to his throne. When he made his start for Barcelona at the age of 17, he was thrust into the spotlight.

Today, he is still a professional football player. He now plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, the same team that Andres Iniesta used to play for.

Before he moved to Japan, Bojan played for Stoke, Ajax, and Roma. He had a good career, but being compared to Messi probably hurt his growth, and he didn’t do the things that many people thought he would.

Many people think that Lionel Messi is not only the best player of the 21st century, but also the best player of all time.

So, you can’t really blame any of the players on this list for not being as good as the Barcelona great or having a career as decorated as his.

It has nothing to do with the players, many of whom are very skilled, since it’s not easy to be even half as good as the Argentine wizard has been throughout his career.

But the fact that many of the players on this list didn’t make much of a mark and had poor lives shows that players shouldn’t be put under too much pressure too soon.

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