KEY POINTS

  • Real Madrid's on-loan rising star Takefusa Kubo statistically ties Lionel Messi's dribbling rate
  • Kubo has been dubbed by some as the Japanese Messi
  • Kubo doesn't want to be compared to Messi and vows to become a star in Real Madrid

An on-loan Real Madrid rising star has exactly the same dribbling success rate as Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, recent stats revealed.

After years of continuously playing above everybody else, Messi has proven that he is an extraordinary player. Some believe that it would take generations before the world could see another “Leo.” However, a youngster named Takefusa Kubo has been showing potential to be the next Messi.

According to a recent data compliation made by Spanish data analytics company Alebia Analytics, Messi tops the 20 best dribblers in La Liga with a rate of 5.4 dribbles per 90 minutes. Surprisingly, Kubo managed to record exactly the same rate.

In simpler terms, Kubo was the only active player to statistically dribble like Messi. What’s even more impressive is that Kubo even surpassed Nabil Fekir of Real Betis, the player who is rated as Europe’s next best dribbler after Messi.

Messi and Kubo are almost the same height (around 1.7 meters) as well. The resemblance in height and physique may have helped Kubo and Messi get past defenders and show off their dribbling skills.

The Barcelona academy graduate opted to join the Catalan club’s El Clasico rivals Real Madrid last summer for free. Barca reportedly tried to re-sign Kubo but failed due to his financial demands. Los Blancos has decided to loan out the 18-year-old to Real Mallorca, where he quickly became a regular.

Unlike other players his age, Kubo is not too thrilled about being compared to Messi. In an interview after a Copa América match (via sportsfinding.com) Kubo was asked to comment about earning the nickname “The Japanese Messi.” 

“I don't like to be compared to a player as big as Messi, but I will continue working,” Kubo said.

Shortly after joining Real Madrid last April, Kubo once again addressed the comparisons and said: “It is a reference for many young people who want to be footballers, and also for ready-made players, for me and for many left-handers who are not very tall and whose main characteristics are dribbling and good ball handling. Messi is the pinnacle of that. When I was little I watched his videos.”

Despite being compared to Messi, Kubo has vowed to become a star in Cristiano Ronaldo’s former club, saying, “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 . I will have a place at Real Madrid.”

Lionel Messi Barcelona 2015 Striker Lionel Messi put Barcelona up 1-0 over Almeria in the 33rd minute with a curving left shot Wednesday. Photo: Reuters