Ever since the days of grainy pre-YouTube skill highlight videos, the internet has had a serious obsession with young soccer prodigies. It seems like every few weeks, there’s a new young futbolero up-and-comer going viral through every corner of the soccer web. The most recent example of this might be one of the most impressive: 12-year-old Brazilian phenom Lucianinho, who currently plays in the youth divisions of Série A powerhouses Flamengo.
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Regularly amassing hundreds of thousands of videos for his highlight compilations, Lucianinho can be seen dribbling straight through two or three defenders regularly, drilling free kicks in the top corner of the net, and scoring goals from the halfway mark of the field. It’s truly a sight to see. Compared to the other kids his age, he looks like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo playing against sixth division sides.
Lucianinho’s skills have not gone unnoticed, as Brazilian stars the likes of Neymar and Roberto Carlos have taken notice of the boy wonder. Both took to social media to show their support and share their excitement for the young star.
Flamengo–who own his rights at the moment–has been watching Lucianinho since he was 7-years-old, but clubs from around the world are already paying attention; AC Milan is said to be targeting the 12-year-old for a move once he hits the legal age for European transfers.
It’s only a matter of time until the soccer press begins reporting rumors of a sizable transfer deal involving Lucianinho, but in the meantime, we’ll get a kick out of watching own youth players repeatedly. In the years to come, he could join ranks with fellow viral kids Cristiano Ronaldo Jr. and recent record signing Vinícius Júnior to be the next wave of soccer superstars.