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Barca wonderkid Cristian Ceballos was 'better than Messi' but had a very unfortunate career

Barca wonderkid Cristian Ceballos was 'better than Messi' but had a very unfortunate career

Cristian Ceballos was in Barcelona's La Masia academy from the age of 11 but is now playing in Azerbaijan.

A Barcelona wonderkid once deemed to be "better than Lionel Messi" has had a strange and unfortunate career path.

Cristian Ceballos joined the Blaugrana's famed La Masia academy at the age of 11 back in 2004 and as a 14-year-old, he achieved YouTube stardom by starring in a video with Barca legend Ronaldinho.

A number of Barca academy prospects showed off their skills to the 2005 Ballon d'Or winner, who didn't hesitate to bust out all sorts of tricks and puzzles.

But it was Ceballos who made the biggest impression. The young lad, who previously played for Racing Santander, performed a number of moves, including juggling the ball on his head while removing his shirt at the same time.

Even now some people think that it's a young Messi in the video, with the shaggy hairstyle and cultured left foot the same.

He wasn't just a freestyler, however, and showcased his talents on the pitch - winning the best player for a youth tournament during which he scored eight times for Barca's Under 12 side.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Ceballos, having played alongside Sergi Roberto and Gerard Deulofeu, was deemed to more talented than Messi and someone who could achieve great things in his career but persistent injuries led to him being released by Barca.

He was then picked up by Spurs in 2011, with Harry Redknapp giving Ceballos the chance.

The forward excelled for the reserve side and at one point scored 10 goals in 13 appearances before being loaned out to Portuguese side Arouca, who handed him his professional debut.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

But he only ever made the substitutes bench for the Spurs first-team and was released at the end of the 2014/15 campaign.

"When I was eighteen, I signed a four-year contract at Tottenham. Harry Redknapp saw my talent," he told Het Belang van Limburg.

“In training I played with stars like (Gareth) Bale. But when (Andre) Villas-Boas was in charge, I was shaking. I was loaned to Portuguese side Arouca.

“Last season Charlton came with a three-year contract, which I could not continue because of an injury.

“Why I myself never came through at Barcelona or Tottenham? Maybe I was formerly not always the right choices. And you need luck. So good luck.”

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Ceballos ended up at Charlton Athletic in League One, before plying his trade with Sint-Truiden in Belgium and later Qatar with Al Wakrah and Qatar SC.

He is currently playing with Sabah in the Azerbaijan league.

Featured Image Credit: Catalan TV3

Topics: Barcelona, La Liga, Tottenham Hotspur, Lionel Messi