News Live Scores

Salah the Egyptian Messi, Halilovic the Croatian Messi - all the new Messis around the world

12:00 IST 07/05/2019
Salah Messi
Many players try to play like Lionel Messi but few come anywhere close - That doesn't stop pundits from comparing their stars to the icon, though!

  • Lionel Messi Bojan Krkic Barcelona

    Barcelona's new Messi: Bojan Krkic

    Best known to English football fans thanks to his goals for Stoke City, Bojan Krkic broke Lionel Messi's record for Barcelona's youngest debutant in 2007, earning him instant comparisons to the Argentine forward. He played over 100 La Liga games for Barca before moving on to Roma, AC Milan, Ajax and Stoke. In 2018, he revealed that the "new Messi" nickname held him back and that he rejected a chance to go to Euro 2008 with Spain because of anxiety issues.
  • Gerard Deulofeu Lionel Messi Barcelona

    Catalan Messi: Gerard Deulofeu

    Any player who comes up through the Barcelona academy is always going to be in the shadow of Messi. Gerard Deulofeu was given the nickname the "Catalan Messi" as he broke through during his teenage years. Now at Watford, the Spain international was sold by Barca to Everton in 2015 but actually returned to his hometown club in 2017 when they exercised a buy-back option in his contract. He teamed up with Messi, playing 23 times before being loaned out and then sold back to England.
  • Alen Halilovic Milan

    Croatian Messi: Alen Halilovic

    Not all the new Messis get to follow in the original Messi's footsteps, but the 'Croatian Messi' arrived at Camp Nou in 2014 to sign for Barcelona from Dinamo Zagreb, where he had rose to fame. The youngest ever player to play for Zagreb at 16 years and 101 days, he also became the youngest player to play for Croatia in 2013. Unfortunately, his only first team involvement at Barcelona was less than half an hour in a cup game and he was sold to Hamburg in 2016. Now on the books at AC Milan, the 22-year-old joined Standard Liege on loan in January with the Belgian club having an option to buy him this summer.
  • Mohamed Salah Egypt 2018-19

    Egyptian Messi: Mohamed Salah

    Mohamed Salah was named the 'Egyptian Messi' due to his amazing left foot, but by now he has moved on from the nickname to be regarded as one of the best players in the world. He finished sixth in the 2018 Ballon d'Or voting, just one place below Messi, having helped Liverpool reach the Champions League final and bringing Egypt to the World Cup. Still just 26, he followed up an exellent 2017-18 season with Liverpool by scoring over 20 league goals again in 2018-19 with the Reds again reaching the last four in Europe.
  • Fran Kirby England 09112018

    England's Mini Messi: Fran Kirby

    After Fran Kirby scored for England at the 2015 Women's World Cup, the Three Lions' number 10 was called 'Mini Messi'. The 25-year-old Chelsea forward has many of the attributes of the Argentina international: she's a great dribbler, technically gifted; and is a scorer of great goals. Kirby scored the only goal in October 2018 as England beat Brazil, with manager Phil Neville claiming his No.10 was better than Brazil's six-time World Player of the Year winner Marta.
  • Marko Marin

    German Messi: Marko Marin

    Marko Marin has had a nomadic career since breaking through in Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach after turning 18. He earned a big-money move to Werder Bremen before signing for Chelsea in 2012. His performances for the Blues were very inconsistent and resulted in multiple loan spells, in four different countries. Two more countries have since followed, with Marin permanently moving to Olympiacos in Greece and most recently Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.
  • Giannis Fetfatzidis

    Greek Messi: Giannis Fetfatzidis

    Giannis Fetfatzidis earned the nickname the 'Greek Messi' because of his small stature (5 ft 5 in/1.64m) and his technical ability with the ball. The attacking midfielder began his career at Olympiacos before becoming the most expensive export from the Greek Superleague in 2013 when he was sold to Genoa for €4 million (£3.4m/$4.5m). He started well in Italy earning attention from English clubs, but his form began to suffer and he moved to Saudi Arabia in 2015 before returning to Greece in 2018. Now 28, he plays with Aris and has 25 caps for his country.

  • Daniel Bode Hungary

    Hungary's Madocsai Messi: Daniel Bode

    In Hungary, Ferencvaros striker Daniel Bode is known to fans as "Madocsai Messi" after his hometown of Madocsai. The 32-year-old has played 25 times for Hungary and was included in their Euro 2016 squad. Regularly in the race for the top scorer trophy in Hungary, he has 89 goals in 198 games for Ferencvaros.
  • Egi Maulana - Indonesia U-16 & Vietnam U-16

    Indonesian Messi: Egy Maulana Vikri

    Egy Maulana Vikri is already a full international for Indonesia at just 18. He already has three caps for his country after being a revelation at underage level. In 16 goals for their Under-19s, he scored 15 times, earning attention from some of Europe's biggest names, including Ajax and Benfica. However, he chose to join Lechia Gdansk as they did not demand him to go on trial first and scored 12 goals in 14 games for their fourth-tier reserve side before making his full debut in December.
  • Alan Judge Republic of Ireland 05102015

    Irish Messi: Alan Judge

    The 'Irish Messi' has never played at a level higher than the Championship despite starting his career at then-Premier League side Blackburn Rovers. He has spent the last five seasons in the Championship, but could find himself back in League One next season following Ipswich Town's relegation from the English second tier. The 30-year-old's greatest success came at Brentford where he made the 2015-16 Championship Team of the Year and also received his first call up for the Republic of Ireland.
  • Takefusa Kubo Japan

    Japanese Messi: Takefusa Kubo

    At just 17, Takefusa Kubo has a better chance of living up to the hype than many of the other names on this list who are now in the twilight of their careers. The FC Tokyo forward spent four years training at Barcelona where he scored 74 goals in 30 games at under-11 level. He's the youngest player to score in a J.League game, netting his first career goal at just 15. He was named in the 2019 NxGn list as one of the best wonderkids in the world.
  • Seung Woo Lee FC Barcelona 22052014

    Korean Messi: Seung-woo Lee

    Another Barcelona academy graduate, Seung-woo Lee was South Korea's huge hope for the future in 2011 when he traded Incheon United for La Masia. He played just one game for Barcelona's B side before being sold to Hellas Verona for just €1.5m (£1.3m/$1.7m) in 2017. His international career has been more impressive than his club form, helping South Korea win the Asian Games in 2018 by assisting Heung-min Son's winning goal in the final.
  • Diego Lainez Mexico

    Mexican Messi: Diego Lainez

    Diego Lainez has been included in Goal's NxGn list of the top 50 wonderkids for three years running and it's no wonder as 'El Messi Mexicano' is one of the best dribblers of the ball in the world. The 18-year-old is already a Mexican international and was signed by Real Betis from Club America for $12m (£9.2m) in January 2019. In February, he became the youngest Mexican player to score in the Europa League.
  • Faiz Nasir, Safawi Rasid, Selangor v Johor Darul Ta'zim, Super League, 1 Mar 2019

    Malaysian Messi: Faiz Nasir

    Many players are compared to Messi because of their height, but Malaysia's Faiz Nasir is even shorter than many others who have been given the nickname. Nasir is just 5 feet tall (1.50m), but has plenty of talent in his locker, as shown by the stunning goal he scored on his international debut in March 2019, taking down a pass before curling a long-range effort past the Afganistan goalkeeper.
  • Pajtim Kasimi Stanley Okoro Nigeria Switzerland 2009

    Nigeria's Little Messi: Stanley Okoro

    Most players don't like being compared to a living legend as it's a lot of pressure to live up to, but Nigeria's Stanley Okoro has no problems with the nickname: "I don’t mind when people call me Little Messi. It’s a pleasant thing to be compared with the best footballer in the world; I don’t have a problem with that." Okoro spent time in Spain but never broke through to the Almeira first team, returning home to Nigeria in 2016.
  • Ryan Gauld

    Scottish Messi: Ryan Gauld

    Unlike most British players who spend all their careers playing in the UK, the 'Scottish Messi' has had a career as exotic as his nickname by leaving Dundee United for Sporting CP in 2014. Now 23, Ryan Gauld has failed to live up to the initial hype, not yet playing a senior international for Scotland and only featuring in two league games for his parent club. He's still contracted to Sporting, but has been on loan at various Portuguese clubs and is now with Hibernian.
  • Chanathip Songkrasin - Thailand vs Philippines 10122014

    Thailand's Messi Jay: Chanathip Songkrasin

    Chanathip Songkrasin is known to Thai football fans as 'Messi Jay' or 'Jay', and is an attacking midfielder in the vein of more than one Argentina legend. When he was young, Chanathip's father trained him with the intention of copying Diego Maradona and he has entertained fans with similar dribbling skills in his home country, winning all of his homeland's major trophies before moving to Japan to play for Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.
  • Jomo Cosmos, Tebogo Tlolane

    South African Messi: Tebogo Tlolane

    While many of the world's Messis come with a prefix like the 'Scottish Messi' or the 'Greek Messi', South Africa's Tegobo Tlolane is simply called 'Messi' in his home country. The name was given to him even before he went on trial at Barcelona, thanks to his excellent dribbling ability. His two-week trial in Spain did not result in a contract from the Catalan giants and the 24-year-old now plays for ABSA Premiership side Chippa United, where he has been converted into a left-back.