People shouldn't compare Gerard Deulofeu to Lionel Messi - Barcelona's Andoni Zubizarreta

The Catalans' sporting director has warned against too much hype surrounding the promising talent and emphasised the importance of youth
Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has stressed that the club will be very careful with the development of exciting young winger Gerard Deulofeu.

The 17-year-old was one of the stars at the Uefa Under-19 European Championships this summer as Spain won the tournament, and he has been added to Barcelona's first team for the remainder of pre-season.

Zubizarreta has urged people not to make any wild comparisons with Lionel Messi, though, and compared his situation with that of fellow youngster Thiago Alcantara.

"If in the case of Thiago, [Pep] Guardiola said he wanted to go 'piano, piano', then with Deulofeu, we'll have to go 'Pianissimo, pianissimo' - with all the calm in the world. We don’t want anybody to compare him with Messi," Zubizarreta said on the club's official website.

The former goalkeeper then went on to underline the importance of having home-grown youngsters in the Barca team.

"Their presence is important for the team but also for their football development. The last 30 minutes against Manchester [United, in their recent friendly] we ended up with almost the whole XI brought through the ranks. They have the ability to understand how we play."

Accomplished stars such as Carles Puyol, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi all emerged through the Barca youth academy, La Masia.