Barcelona wonderkid Ilaix Moriba was JUST two when Lionel Messi won his first LaLiga title, now he's playing with himMarch 4, 2021
IT'LL be the way out of financial ruin for Barcelona – concentrating on promoting talent from their famed La Masia academy.
Prospects in the past have included Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
While Ansu Fati has shown in the past year he's ready to take on Messi's mantle, should the Argentine legend leave for pastures new.
But in the last month a new talent has emerged – a powerful 6ft 1in midfielder, aged 18, who is being gradually blooded by Ronald Koeman into the first team set-up.
In a LaLiga game against Sevilla, Spain U18 international Ilaix Moriba provided a sumptuous assist for Messi in a 2-0 win – and had Barça supporters looking forward to the future.
Incredibly, even though they're now team mates – when Messi picked up his first La Liga title in 2005 Moribe was just a two-year-old toddler growing up in Guinea.
HE DESTROYED REAL MADRID
It was in 2018, as a 15-year-old, that Barcelona's best-kept secret began to get talked about.
In a game against Real Madrid's U19 side he made a mockery of players who were much more senior than him.
The star of a 5-0 rout of Barcelona's biggest rivals, Moriba netted an astonishing hat-trick.
He scored a stunning goal from the halfway line straight from a kick off, a 25-yard screamer and a half-volley.
£86M RELEASE CLAUSE
Knowing they have a gem on their hands, Barcelona wasted no time in securing the precious talent on a long-term contract.
With his contract expiring in 2019, and the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus circling, the Catalans tied Moriba down to a record deal reportedly worth around £1.7million-per-year.
Barcelona also protected their investment by inserting a staggering buyout clause in his agreement.
Should anyone want to buy him, they will have to pay a fee of £86million.
COMPARISONS TO POGBA
Blessed with skill and physicality, it's been said Moriba has the assets needed to conquer the English game.
While he's also been compared to France World Cup winner, Paul Pogba.
"He's physically very strong, but he's also a very intelligent player," ex-Barcelona youth coach Denis Silva Puig told Bleacher Report.
"Most people don't appreciate this. Here he's called the 'Pogba of Barca' because he's like a young Pogba, but also he is very, very intelligent—and that is his big potential. He is a top player, no doubt.
"He's a little bit, maybe modern—in the English football kind of sense. It's good to have him at Barca.
"The academy can't be all about the Riqui [Puig]s or the Monchus—small players with a lot of talent.
"Football trends change every year, every month, but Ilaix is here not because he is tall or strong, but because he is very good in every facet of the game."
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