• Kays Ruiz-Atil and Ilias Akhomach are joining Barcelona in pre-season training
  • The pair are being likened to Lionel Messi
  • Ansu Fati is also making his return to Barca

A pair of youngsters both dubbed as “New Lionel Messi” could be on course to making their Barcelona debut.

Despite succumbing to a terrible downfall late in the past season, Barcelona is likely to have Ronald Koeman as the club’s head coach once again.

This offseason, Koeman “will have several Barca B players” assessed in pre-season training with a couple of names already included in the team’s roster, including Kays Ruiz-Atil and Ilias Akhomach, French outlet Lions De L’Atlas reported.

International Business Times could not independently verify this information.

Ruiz-Atil will be joining the group as he prepares for his maiden season under Koeman following recent reports that his arrival will be announced “in the coming days.”

The Dutchman is expected to begin the training sessions for the upcoming season on July 12, the report said.

The 18-year-old had just confirmed his departure from Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain and has been heavily linked to a return to his boyhood club Barcelona in the past few weeks.

Akhomach, on the other hand, has already impressed as part of the Barcelona B squad, having made his debut for the Catalans last year.

After making his mark on his first Barca game, Barcelona B manager Garcia Pimienta assured that Akhomach’s future with the Spanish outfit is already secured.

"What's clear is that the academy is bringing through a lot of players and [Akhomach] he's one that we will have in mind this season, for sure," Pimienta said last year.

What’s even more interesting is that both Ruiz-Atil and Akhomach have already earned comparisons to Messi.

The prestigious recognition was first given by Akhomach’s mentor and La Masia director Patrick Kluivert in 2019.

"He is the Messi who is coming," Kluivert said of Akhomach in an interview. "What's more, he is already somewhat similar. He is left-handed and his agent is Horacio Gaggioli, the representative who brought Messi to Barcelona."

Ruiz-Atil, meanwhile, was hyped by the media as the “New Messi” due to his crafty ballhandling, effective usage of both feet, and savvy playmaking skills that resembled that of the Argentine.

Apart from Ruiz-Atil and Akhomach, Ansu Fati--who is also touted as Messi’s heir apparent at Barcelona--is likely to make his return as well.

An earlier report said that Fati is set to make his comeback after being allowed by Barcelona’s doctors to join the team’s pre-season training on July 12.

However, Fati’s return will not be at full throttle as he will first train alone “until he gradually gets back to a good pace.”

Lionel Messi is running out of time to win another Champions League with Barcelona, who will meet Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals in Lisbon
Lionel Messi is running out of time to win another Champions League with Barcelona, who will meet Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals in Lisbon AFP / LLUIS GENE