Newcastle coach, Rafael Benitez, has tipped Ryan Hyacinth, son of ex-Super Eagles star, Celestine Babayaro, to become the next Lionel Messi.
Barcelona superstar, Messi, is regarded as the best footballer of his generation with five Ballon d’Or titles to his name.
Ryan, 10, emerged the Most Valuable Player in a small five-a-sided football competition organised by Newcastle United’s 1892 Foundation for schools at the Tyneside.
The youngster was impressive as he led his school, Cambois Primary School, Northumberland, to the title.
His superb showing didn’t go unnoticed as he caught the attention of many including Benitez, who picked the young to start training with the Magpie.
“The idea is to keep the connection between the club and the community,” the Spanish tactician revealed.
“It would be fantastic if the club did produce a player on the back of one of the Foundation’s courses.
“It’s not the main idea but at the same time you come across one talent nobody knew about. And then maybe he will be the new Messi!” Benitez said.
Ryan now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of his father who played close to 50 matches for Newcastle having joined them from Chelsea in 2005.
Babayaro appeared 132 times for reigning Premier League champions, Chelsea, between 1997 and 2005 where he won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the FA cup titles.
The 38-year-old, who holds the record of the youngest player to appear in the UEFA Champions League, played 27 times for Nigeria and was part of the triumphant Atlanta 1996 Olympic squad.
Newcastle will be hoping Ryan will fulfil his potentials like Andy Carroll, Sammy Ameobi, Kazenga Lualua, Paul Dummett and Fraser Forster who all broke into the main team from the youth academy in recent years.