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7 Nov, 2021 16:08

‘Better than Coutinho’: Fans claim 7yo wonderkid is new Messi after spectacular goal at Barca academy where legend played (VIDEO)

‘Better than Coutinho’: Fans claim 7yo wonderkid is new Messi after spectacular goal at Barca academy where legend played (VIDEO)

A wonderkid in Barcelona's famous La Masia academy has been compared to its greatest ever graduate, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi, after footage of his winning goal in a match this weekend went viral.

Pedro Juarez currently plays for Barca's pre-Benjamin side, in an age category which runs from six to eight years old.

From the Benjamin level onwards at eight to 10, the Blaugrana's teams compete in the high-level Catalan Federation league.

In the meantime, though, the pre-Benjamins contest friendlies to prepare themselves for the competitive championship where they will face the academy sides of rivals such as Espanyol and Girona, in addition to other local clubs with proud traditions. 

One such friendly this weekend was tied at 5-5 until a seven-year-old decided to take matters into his own hands. 

From kick-off after his side had just conceded a goal, he charged the full half of the opposition's pitch, slaloming in and out of a series of players on a run reminiscent of Messi in his Camp Nou heyday before finally smashing the ball into the net to win the clash.

His exploits have seen him compared to the iconic number 10 by SPORT, with its main writer who covers youth teams, Albert Roge, sharing footage and beaming that it showed the "magic of grasroots".

"How beautiful football is," he added.

Naturally, the comments section was full of wisecrackers, with one joking that Pedro was "better than [Philippe] Coutinho" – a reference to the club's most expensive ever player and long-term flop.

"If we continue to have players injured, [new manager] Xavi will have to start him against Benfica," another said, with Barca facing a must-win Champions League clash on the horizon against the Portuguese while the likes of Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele, Pedri and Nico Gonzalez are all out injured.

"I think he's ready for the first team. He already has more dribbling [skills] than some...," said another, while many jokily demanded that the prodigy should be promoted to the senior squad already.

Not everyone was impressed, however, with some criticizing the youngster for being greedy.

"Well, it seems to me that he has an easy pass to the striker," noted one critic, who didn't agree with praising those "who do not pass the ball".

"He's seven and you're judging him like an elite player," a respondent fired back.

Many picked up on what is presumably a father's screaming of "gol", which can be heard loudly in the clip.

Some accused Pedro's dad of living vicariously through the precocious talent, leading to remarks about pushy and overbearing parents being the worst element of the grassroots game.

One naysayer pointed out that Barca arch-rivals Real Madrid's pre-Benjamin boys had won 15-0 on the same day, which triggered all manner of bickering between fans of Spain's two largest teams.

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