KEY POINTS

  • Youngster dubbed as "Japanese Lionel Messi" vows to become a star in Cristiano Ronaldo's former club Real Madrid
  • Japanese Messi believes he truly belongs to Real Madrid
  • Player once dubbed as "Mini Lionel Messi" also became a rising star in Ronaldo's former club Sporting Lisbon

A youngster dubbed as “Japanese Lionel Messi” has vowed to become a star in Cristiano Roanldo’s former club Real Madrid.

Ever since Messi became an icon of the sport, an array of youngsters earned comparisons to his greatness. Though most of them present a strong case to be the next Messi, one name seems to stand out – Takefusa Kubo.

Kubo made quite a recall to most soccer fans not only because he earned the nickname “Japanese Messi.” What made him even more interesting was that he vows to become a future star in Real Madrid, a club where Messi’s ultimate rival Ronaldo became a legend.

In a recent interview with AS (via Squawka), Kubo revealed his future plans with Real and said that he was grateful for the interest Los Blancos have shown him.

“After turning 18, I had the chance to choose a team and I chose Real Madrid because of their interest in me. I’m very grateful. And now I’m a big Madrid fan. [My dream is] to be a great player and to do great things at Real Madrid. Also for Japan. It all depends on me and I will have a place at Real Madrid,” Kubo said.

“I’m going to keep working and I’ll wait for my opportunity. When it arrives, I won’t waste it,” he added.

Kubo is currently out on loan at La Liga club Mallorca. Thus far, the Japanese sensation has already scored three goals. Upon his arrival last year, Kubo was  hailed as  “one of the most promising players in world football” by Real Madrid.

Pundits believe that it wouldn’t take long before Kubo gets called up by Zinedine Zidane to join Real’s first team. However, some believe that the 18-year-old still needs to polish his game. It is said that Kubo needs to be consistent before he can blossom as a key player for Los Blancos.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have vied for the title of the world's best player for the past seven years. Photo: Reuters

Aside from Kubo, 24-year-old Ryan Gauld was also once compared to Messi. In Gauld’s case, t he Messi comparisons came after he burst onto the scene at Dundee United as a 16-year-old in 2012. Just like Kubo, Gauld also played for one of Ronaldo’s former clubs – Sporting Lisbon.

In 2014, Sporting noticed Gauld’s potential and  signed him via a $3.6 million, 6-year deal with a €60 million ($73.6 million) exit clause. “Mini Messi” had a promising start with the first team but things eventually turned sour.  Gauld recently revealed that the burden of being compared to Messi. According to the former Sporting player, the comparisons didn’t bother him until people started judging him for it.

“I wasn’t bothered by it but it’s when you see it on social media, ‘This guy was meant to be Mini Messi, look at him now.’ All that kind of nonsense. The actual name didn’t bother me, it was just when people read that they judged me a little quicker and expected more,” Gauld revealed.