We didn’t expect a feature on Erik Lamela from a Catalan newspaper today. And we certainly didn’t expect a feature on Lamela being seen as a “New Messi’. Lamela, 23 years of age, has found himself called up to the Argentina squad to replace the injured Lionel Messi, and that’s proven far too much temptation for Mundo Deportivo.
It’s explained that Lamela has long been seen as a ‘New Messi’, and that the Barcelona player is fond of his younger compatriot. Messi gave Lamela a pair of his own boots when the Tottenham player was set to make his debut for the national team.
Mundo Deportivo say that Barcelona have been monitoring Lamela since he was 12 years old. A Barcelona associate in Argentina recommended the youngster, then with the River Plate youth system, be brought over to Spain and placed in La Masia as, you’ve guessed it, a ‘New Messi’.
River Plate didn’t want to lose Lamela and so offered work to the footballer’s family and extra schooling help for the young footballer. It was worth it for River Plate, who later sold Lamela to AS Roma for €18m.
There’s no suggestion that Barcelona want to buy Lamela just now, but he’s certainly a player they like to keep an eye on. Lamela was this week included in Gazzetta dello Sport’s European Team of the Week.