'Messi in disguise' - meet Barca's exciting young winger Jordi Mboula

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The 17-year-old, who has been scouted by Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, could make the step up to the Catalans' B team next season


PROFILE

There is a new name on the scene at Barcelona. Winger Jordi Mboula scored a wonder-goal for the Catalans' Under-19 team against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday that immediately drew comparisons with Lionel Messi.

Mboula scores wonder goal for Barca U19s

Mboula showed some sublime skills and plenty of pace as he raced down the right flank, beat two defenders with fancy footwork before slotting in an angled shot that brought fans at the Mini Estadi to their feet.

"When you have players of that quality, you can prepare a lot of things," his coach Gabri Garcia said after the Blaugrana advanced 4-1 on aggregate to the last eight of the UEFA Youth League. "But then, they pop up and there is nothing you can do to stop it."

Luckily for Gabri, and also for Barcelona, they do not have to – and the Catalan club posted a video of the goal on their Twitter account on Thursday with the message: "We need your help: Can anyone come up with a hashtag for Jordi Mboula's (@FCBMasia) wonder-goal?"

There were plenty of replies. "Messi in disguise," one fan wrote, while another added: "Messi, is that you?" Some even called for him to be promoted to the first team. "We need him against PSG," one claimed, while another asked: "Can he play against PSG?" 

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All of that is a little premature and it is unfortunate for any young player to be compared to Messi. Nevertheless, if he ends up being even half as good as the brilliant Argentine, Barcelona will be very happy indeed.

It is too early to tell, but Mboula is certainly an exciting talent. Born in Granollers just outside Barcelona to a Catalan mother and a Congolese father, the teenager is physically strong and also fast, drawing comparisons with a young Thierry Henry.

Indeed, at Barca, the right winter has long been likened to the former France forward due to his pace and power. The teenage sensation, who turns 18 in March, is as quick as they come and has a wonderful ability to leave defenders trailing in his wake - as he showed in his wonder goal on Wednesday.

Jordi Mboula

Jordi Mboula

Although Mboula is most effective when he has plenty of space to attack, he is also good in the air and is a constant threat in front of goal - with the strike against Dortmund on Wednesday his sixth in as many UEFA Youth League matches this season.

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Despite his obvious talents, Barca hope he can improve the defensive side of his game and his work off the ball, while he is also known to drift in and out of matches as well. How he develops from now on will depend on whether he ultimately moves up to the first team or ends up playing elsewhere, like previous prodigies Gerard Deulofeu and Adama Traore.

Mboula, who has represented Spain at youth level and has been at Barca since the age of nine, is out of contract in 2018 and the Catalans are already preparing a new deal for a player who has been scouted by the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.

He has already featured for Barca B and should move up to the Catalans' second string permanently next season. If Mboula impresses at that level, he will no doubt be given a chance to play for the first team as well. So, remember the name because if Jordi Mboula continues imitating Messi, it might not be too long before he ends up playing alongside him too!

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