A modest 17-year-old, who has already bagged one crucial Champions League goal, has emerged as a surprise contender to fill Lionel Messi’s boots at Barcelona. Even if he doesn’t emerge at the Nou Camp, though, the teenager will be a hero of Istanbul’s fanatical fans.
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Demir spent time at Istanbul Basaksehir, and the club has once again offered him a chance to impress in last night’s game against Suleymaniye. Demir, nicknamed Yasur, has drawn acclaim in Turkey for the way he combines all his playing talents – among them, a proficiency in the touchline control, a footballing precision with crosses and an ability to retain possession.
The performance of Demir against Suleymaniye has come as a huge shock for many in Turkey as he has only played for one team in his career, but his employers are not alone in their faith in his talent. Reports in Turkey say he is a regular alongside Messi in Barcelona’s youth team, and led the youth team’s 3-0 win in the Champions League qualifier over Granada. Demir was a member of the Spanish youth team’s 5-1 defeat of Sweden in the youth Euro finals earlier this year, and even led Barcelona’s final training session before the match, according to the reports.
With Messi’s season-ending injury, Demir now has a golden opportunity to make a name for himself. The Spanish press are far from convinced Demir will fill the void left by Messi, but the story of the youngster’s rise through Barcelona’s academy is certainly fascinating. The film Pipes, subtitled in English as Das Ponnt, followed his rise in the academy. Here’s the trailer, if you want to watch it in Turkish: