Gerard Deulofeu on the tough road from Barcelona’s youth ranks

It’s never easy to be labelled “the next” anyone, let alone the next Lionel Messi.

The Argentine is probably the world’s best ever player, and comparing a young Gerard Deulofeu to him at the time was probably a little damaging.

He certainly thinks so, and in an interesting interview, which is quoted in the Metro, he revealed how difficult it had been for him coming out of La Masia a few years after the great man.

“When you’re young at Barca there are a lot of eyes on you, many people who think you will be the next Iniesta, the next Messi, stars of football,” the winger explained.

“That is hard because young players have to work calmly, every day, without pressure. You should learn and work but some people talk too much and they create a dream for you that is very difficult to reach.

“I’m proud to have formed at Barcelona because I learned a lot from their academy, but all people know my time in the first team wasn’t the best. That was my objective and I did not manage to reach it.”

Now at Watford, either side of a bad injury he was playing some of his best football, and was attracting some positive comparisons to great players again.

The coronavirus break may have given him the chance to refocus and try to climb even further back up the ladder. Hopefully at the very least it gives him the chance to recovery fully from his horror injury and find some fitness before football starts again.