It's never too early to think about the future.
Mark May of the The Irish Sun reports that Zak Gilsenan, a nine-year-old from Castleknock, Dublin, has been signed by Barca after a breathtaking performance in a recent trial.
With 400 other hopeful kids looking to make a big impression, Gilsenan buried seven goals into the net of the final trial match and will now be headed to the FCBEscola Football Academy. The academy has produced such stars as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta.
While nobody is ready to give Gilsenan the title as the next Messi just yet, there is a lot to be excited about. Thoroughly dominating his peers at such a young age gives him unlimited potential.
Gilsenan's family will now be moving from Ireland to Spain, so their son will have every opportunity in the world to become a Euro soccer star, according to The Irish Sun.
His father, Stephen, talked about the process that led to this incredible offer (via The Irish Sun):
We came home with the intention of letting Zak go to Spurs, but in the meantime we had a call from Barcelona. One of their former players saw him playing in Oz and recommended him to Barca.
...Then in a match between the top 16 players, Zak just ran riot and scored seven goals. He was phenomenal. I know Zak is young to be doing this but kids are like a sponge at this age.
What an unbelievable story.
The European Cup winners are going to give Gilsenan all of the resources he needs to succeed, and he is now on the fast track to stardom. Considering his current age, the 2022 World Cup may be the target date for Gilsenan to make his first performance on the big stage.
As for Barca, it's a positive sign that the club is taking a proactive approach to finding talent, and for all we know, they just signed the next Messi.
Keep an eye on Gilsenan as he develops; he very well could be the next great soccer star, or he could succumb to the hype and fail.
Either way, it's a fascinating story and an exciting one to follow for Barca fans.