• Barcelona has an array of youngsters who could replace Lionel Messi
  • Kays Ruiz-Atil and Ilias Akhomach are both being likened to Messi
  • Ansu Fati is the favorite to succeed the Argentine in Barca senior team

Barcelona may need to look no further for the “New Lionel Messi.”

It has been more than a week since Messi, Barcelona’s longtime talisman who left Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain, but the fans’ deep dejection could still be felt.

Like in any other star athlete’s career, Messi’s time with Barca would eventually come to an end, but nobody just expected it to happen the way it did.

However, it may not take a while before Barcelona finally identifies the player who can fill the big shoes the Argentine has left.

Some, or even the Catalans may not be aware, but they already have a few “Messi-like” players in their youth team.

Barcelona B new signing Kays Ruiz-Atil, for one, presents a strong case.

The former PSG attacker has long been likened to Messi, He is no stranger to Barca, having been a La Masia player in the past.

Now that he has finally returned to his “home,” Ruiz-Atil is looking forward to making it to the senior team sooner rather than later.

“I am very excited to have returned, since I was little I wanted to play for Barça, but I experienced the ban from FIFA,” Ruiz-Atil said. “I always had it in my head to go back, finally it has been possible.”

“I would like to be in the first team and see if I make my debut,” he added. “I am very happy to return home, Barça has always been a family to me.”

Ruiz-Atil’s teammate Ilias Akhomach is another Barcelona youth team sensation earning comparisons to Messi.

Akhomach, a savvy winger who can also effectively play all “three attacking positions,” left an impression in his Barca B debut last year.

He was highly-regarded by former Barcelona Academy director Patrick Kluivert, the Camp Nou legend who referred to him as the next Messi.

"He is the Messi who is coming," Kluivert said of Akhomach in an interview in 2019. "What's more, he is already somewhat similar.

In Barcelona’s first team, meanwhile, it is Ansu Fati who is touted to succeed Messi, a privilege courtesy of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner himself.

“I really like him and I try to help and support him,” Messi said of Fati in 2019. “I’d like them [Barcelona] to bring him on gradually, like they did with me when I started, taking things nice and easy and without putting pressure on him.”

Ansu Fati became the youngest player to score in the Champions League when he netted Barcelona's winner away to Inter
Ansu Fati became the youngest player to score in the Champions League when he netted Barcelona's winner away to Inter AFP / Isabella BONOTTO