Florian Wirtz Bayer Leverkusen 2021-22Getty Images

Florian Wirtz is like Messi! Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso heaps praise on German wonderkid

  • Florian Wirtz is like Messi
  • Alonso praises youngster
  • Can make 'smart moves'

WHAT HAPPENED? While praising the wonderkid - who finished behind only Jude Bellingham in GOAL's 2022 NXGN rankings - Alonso drew comparisons to Messi and explained how the German midfielder's ability to make smart decisions on the pitch is similar to the Argentine legend.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to reporters Alonso said: "There are good players and there are players who look good on the pitch. The player who looks good does things that are nice, but not necessarily efficient.

"Why is Messi so good? Because he knows how and when to play simple passes. Messi says: 'You're in a better position? Here, there you have the ball!' It's not always about making the most brilliant move, but the best and smartest. Florian can do that. That's why he's so good."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Wirtz has remained out of action since March 2022 after he suffered a knee injury. He missed the remainder of the 2021/22 season and is yet to take the field for Bayer Leverkusen in the ongoing campaign, though he is primed to return after the Bundesliga winter break.


Florian Wirtz Germany 2021Getty ImagesXabi Alonso Leverkusen 11012022(C)Getty Images

Lionel Messi PSG 2022-23Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR BAYER LEVERKUSEN? Leverkusen resume their Bundesliga season on January 22 against Borussia Mönchengladbach - a game that Wirtz should feature in.