Cerro Porteno's Juan Iturbe turns to Lionel Messi as his football idol

Porto-bound Iturbe revealed that he looks to Messi as an example both on and off the pitch, as he prepares to face Estudiantes in the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday
Cerro Porteno's Argentine wonderkid Juan Iturbe is eager to play his first official game on home soil on Wednesday, and affirmed that he looks to Lionel Messi as an example of how to excel as a footballer.

Born in Buenos Aires but brought up in Paraguay, the 17-year-old will take part in his first ever competitive game in Argentina when his Ciclon team visit Estudiantes in the Copa Libertadores last 16.

'La Pulguita' has been endlessly compared to the Barcelona star in the Argentine press, and revealed that he could not ask for a better example of a football player than that of his compatriot.

"I am just starting my career and I hope that I can achieve even half of what Messi has done, although it will not be easy. At the same time I would not compare myself [with him], I want to make my own way," the Under 20 international told Ole on Wednesday.

Iturbe went on to state that it was Messi's personal attributes as much as his abilities on the pitch that were exemplary.

"At the start what I learnt from him most were his qualities as a person. It's no use being a great footballer if you are not also a good person. Lionel can dribble, assist, he has vision, he is the complete package. I still have to watch a lot of his videos to keep learning."

Iturbe then turned his attention to Wednesday night's clash with the Pincha, affirming that such a game was a dream, "a great experience that I have been waiting for a long time."

The Copa Libertadores campaign will be his final flourish with Cerro as in June a move to Porto beckons; a prospect that the teenager is thrilled by.

"I know that Porto are one of the biggest teams in Europe, and I also have to think about my future, like any footballer. I could not let the opportunity pass me by," he explained, before revealing his dream move - and dream team-mate.

"It would be a dream [to share a team with Messi]. Everybody wants to be his team-mate and it is logical. I think we would make a great double act!"

Iturbe will start from the bench in the Estadio Unico, as Cerro attempt to upset the 2009 champions and get a positive result.

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