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Who Is The 'African Messi' Set To Make Bundesliga History?

He is just 16 years old but already has a R182 million sponsorship deal, he has scored 141 goals in just 88 youth games, he has been dubbed the "African Lionel Messi", and he is set to make Bundesliga history. Meet Youssoufa Moukoko!

Read: Moukoko Scores Third Hat-Trick In A Row

The Cameroon-born Borussia Dortmund sensation turned 16 on Friday, which means he is now eligible to make his Bundesliga debut against Hertha BSC on Saturday.

If he does make an appearance in that match, Moukoko would become the youngest-ever player to feature in the German top flight after a recent rule change confirmed that players aged 16 or older can run out for Bundesliga clubs – before, they had to be 16 years and six months old.

Nuri Sahin is the current record holder after making his debut for Dortmund at the age of 16 years, one month and one day in 2006.

Moukoko's debut would be one that has been coming for a while since he joined BVB's youth academy in 2016, and his goal returns since have been incredible.

He first played for the U17 team at the age of 13 before joining the U19s as a 14-year-old. Overall, he has scored 141 goals in just 88 appearances across all competitions for BVB's youth sides, according to Bundesliga.com.

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As a consequence, he was promoted to Dortmund's first-team training 11 months before his 16th birthday, and scored 13 times in just four U19 games this season whilst waiting to be eligible for his senior debut.

He also became the youngest-ever player to feature in the UEFA Youth League when he played in Dortmund's 2-1 win over FC Barcelona in September 2019 aged 14 years, nine months and 29 days.

His playing style, and because he is left-footed, has seen many spectators liken him to Messi, and his meteoric rise has already earned him a €10 million (R182 million) sponsorship with Nike, according to The Sun.

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His BVB teammate Erling Haaland, who himself seems destined to become one of the game's next superstars, stated earlier this year that he believes Moukoko is further developed than the Norwegian was at the same age.

"Moukoko's much better than I was at his age," he told the Bundesliga's official website ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

"I've never seen such a good 15-year-old in my life. The advantage for him is that he's already playing for Dortmund at the age of 15. At his age, I was still playing for my hometown of Bryne."

The current record holder for the youngest Bundesliga player ever, Sahin, also sees a bright future for Moukoko.

"When the new rule came out, I quickly realised that my record would soon be broken," he told Kicker.

"Youssoufa must now take the next step – the U19s is too easy for him.

"The sun is only shining with him, he has never had rainy days. But these rainy days will come. Then it's important that you have people around you who accompany you and make you aware that negative headlines are part of it."

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