Roque Oller

Barcelona, Chelsea and PSG are chasing the 16-year-old




Estêvão Willian, better known as Messinho, is Brazilian soccer’s latest sensation. Just 16 years old, the prospect is being tipped for stardom.

His nickname came about because he’s a huge fan of Lionel Messi, and plays like him: he’s a left-footed forward with bags of skill and an eye for goal. 

Messinho’s emergence at Sao Paulo side Palmeiras follows that of club-mate Endrick, who is due to join LaLiga giants Real Madrid this summer.

A player with a €60m release clause  in his Palmeiras contract, Messinho  has attracted bids of €20m and  €40m from PSG. Both were rejected.

The teenager is no doubt where he’d like to go. “My dream is to play for Barcelona,” he told Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo in October.

Messinho is highly rated by Barça bosses, but the cash-strapped LaLiga champions may well struggle to  afford a deal for the youngster. 

And FIFA rules would prevent  the player from completing a move  to the Catalan capital until  summer 2025, once he’s turned 18.

Palmeiras are keen to do a deal similar to Endrick’s sale to Madrid: agree a transfer now, and keep him in Brazil until after his 18th birthday. 

Messinho was handed a boot deal by Nike at just 10 years old, making him the youngest Brazilian to be sponsored by the US sportswear giant.

Of all the starlet’s age-group scoring feats, his most impressive is the 23 goals he netted at under-17 level, despite being just 15 at the time.

He was Brazil’s key man at the U-17 World Cup in Indonesia, where he registered three goals and three assists as his side made the quarter-finals.

Messinho has so far only played 10 minutes in Brazil’s top flight, but  there are few doubts that he’ll be one of the stars of the years to come.