Real Madrid lead race to sign the 'Next Lionel Messi'

Argentina v Mexico: Group C - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Argentina v Mexico: Group C - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

Lionel Messi is arguably the best footballer in history. His achievements with FC Barcelona are known to all fans of Spanish football and he has delivered at the international level late in his career as well, winning both the World Cup and Copa America. Unsurprisingly, almost every Argentine wonderkid ends up getting likened to him. And one of them seems to be in the sights of Real Madrid.

Claudio Echeverri has been considered one of the brightest prospects in Argentine football for a while. He grabbed a lot of headlines recently by scoring a hattrick against Brazil at the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Still just 17 years of age, Echeverri has only made a handful of appearances for River Plate at the senior level so far. But that has not stopped him from being linked with some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Real Madrid.

Amidst all this, Echeverri has made his intentions clear already, as it looks like he is not planning to stay at River Plate much longer. As reported by AS, he said:

"I’m not going to sign a new deal but for 6 months or a year I’ll stay."

Real Madrid lead race to sign the 'Next Lionel Messi'

The competition is already tough to sign him. As reported by Fichajes, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Manchester City, have emerged as leading contenders to secure Echeverri's signature.

Echeverri's current deal with River Plate is believed to run out in December of 2024. And it feels unlikely that the club would be keen to let him leave as a free agent. So, expect a transfer to transpire before that.

Real Madrid have an exceptional record in recent years when it comes to developing South American wonderkids into first-team superstars at Santiago Bernabeu. Hopefully, that will hand them the edge over other clubs in the race to sign Echeverri from River Plate.