Whenever a fleet-footed play-maker emerges out of Argentina, it seems only a matter of time before he is compared to you know who.
So far, however, Racing Club talisman Matias Zaracho has managed to avoid that ‘new Messi’ tag and the crushing weight that comes with it.
This is no slight on his ability, however, and more a reflection of how quickly he made a name for himself in his own right back home in South America.
With his balletic dribbling skills and slide-rule through balls, Zaracho has been a regular in Racing’s starting XI for three years now, creating chance after chance from his old-school enganche role.
Diego Milito, the Inter Milan legend turned director of football, is under no illusions that the 22-year-old will not be spending his entire career at the 60,000 capacity Estadio Preisdente Peron.
Indeed, an emotional farewell could be coming sooner rather than later.
“Remember this name: Mati Zaracho. He is very great,” 2010 Champions League winner Milito told Gazzetta dello Sport last year.
“We know very well that the future of Zaracho will be in Europe, but there is still time before leaving,” he added, in conversation with told Tutto Futbol Sud America.
“The young man will stay with us at least until June next year.”
If you have managed to keep track of time during four months in lockdown, you will have noticed that June has been and gone.
And it is no coincidence that, after another season pirouetting his way around bamboozled defenders at Racing, the £23 million-rated Zaracho is starting to dominate the gossip columns once again in Argentina.
El Intransigente reported last week that this two-footed number ten is Marcelo Bielsa’s ‘chosen one’ – the man he wants if, or when, Leeds long-awaited promotion to the Premier League is confirmed.
Given that Milito has shared a dressing room with some of the finest attackers of his generation, from Wesley Sneijder to Samuel Eto’o, Angel di Maria to Messi himself, Leeds fans probably should ‘remember the name’ after all.