Lionel Messi's stunt double from 2014 is making huge waves in football
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Lionel Messi's stunt double is now carving his own path in the professional game.
Replicating Messi is no easy feat given he is in his own league and has done things that no one will be able to do.
However, that hasn't stopped a slew of players from being compared to the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner over the years.
The truth is that there will never be another like Messi but a few years back, youngster Valentino Acuna was tasked with imitating arguably the greatest player to play the game.
A documentary film titled 'Messi' was produced by Mediapro and distributed Warner Brothers.
Alex de la Iglesia was the director for the project, which saw appearances from Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Johan Cruyff.
Messi himself stars in the film, which charts his journey from humble beginnings in Rosario to footballing greatness.
After director De la Iglesia saw highlights of him on YouTube, Acuna was cast to play Messi due to his likeness to him, with his delicate left foot and dribbling style.
He is now 17 and following in Messi's footsteps by playing in the youth set-up for his boyhood club Newell's Old Boys.
And he starred for Argentina at the Under 17 World Cup, where they reached the semi-final before being beaten on penalties by Germany.
Acuna scored a hat-trick on his youth debut against Botafogo and signed a professional contract in December 2022, signalling Newell's belief in his ability.
On the international stage, Acuna has been a regular with Argentina's Under 17's and is tipped for a bright future.
Acuna has since Messi and had a picture with him but his next step will be to play with the Barcelona icon one day.
And although Messi is now 36, it's very much still possible as Messi is still hopeful of appearing at the 2026 World Cup in North America.
"I'm going to arrive at an age [39 years old] that I normally wouldn't be able to play in the World Cup," he told ESPN.
"I said that I don't think I'm going to be there. It seemed that after the World Cup I was retiring and quite the opposite. Now I want to be there more than ever. [But] I'm not thinking about the World Cup and I'm not saying 100 percent that I won't be there because anything can happen.
"Given my age, the most normal thing is that I won't be there. Then we'll see to what extent. Maybe we do well in the Copa America and it happens. everything so that we continue. Maybe not. Being realistic it is difficult."