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Do we have a new Messi? 13-year-old whiz kid Karamoko Kader Dembele continues to turn heads after debuting for under-20 Celtics side

Still with braces in his teeth, the barely teenage 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele has won a lot of hearts across Europe with many football pundits naming him the “New Messi”.

The youngster instantly became an internet sensation after putting on dazzling performances for the Celtics school boy side in this summer’s Dublin St Kevin Boys Academy Cup.

He was unanimously voted Player of the Tournament after skipping past Barcelona prodigies to help Celtic win the Summer Cup. He also won the Player of the tournament at the prestigious Bassevelde Cup in Belgium.

Dembele’s forward runs, pace, close ball control when running at a speed, combined with his mean shot have made many compare the player to Messi. Like the Barcelona legend, he also cuts in from his favored left foot, can pick a pass, he’s strong and runs all over the place.

Be the judge of that, here is a skill video of Karamako’s summer performance against Barcelona academy side.

Karamoko’s individual highlights against Barcelona. (Video from You Tube)

Speaking to the Daily Record, His former coach at Park Villa, David Feeney, said he’s Dembele’s big fan and believes he has the ability to be one of the greats. He said,

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]‘I think he is very similar to Lionel Messi. If he has the right guidance then the sky is the limit for him.’[/perfectpullquote]


His Celtic Under-20 team Debut.

Standing at haff the Height of other players, 13-year-old Karamoko took the field on Monday 3rd October for the under-20 development side against players seven years his senior.


Karamoko training with the Under-20 Celtic side. (Photo from The Daily Mirror)

The opportunity arose when the Celtic development squad was decimated by international call-ups for the Scotland under-19 team that faced Sweden.

Karamoko came on for Jack Aitchison in the 81st minute of Celtic’s 3-1 win over Hearts. It might have been a 9 minute cameo, but the confidence he showed on pitch proved a star had been born.

The player quickly gained ground in the match despite his size. After the match, Celtics official website reported, “The diminutive playmaker did not look out of place.”


The Head Coach for youth development Chris McCart also added,

“We’re all delighted to see Karamoko make his debut for the development squad. The fact that he was playing against other players seven years his senior gives an indication of the quality this young boy possesses.”

“What we need to remember, though, is that Karamoko is just 13 years old. He was given the chance to play on merit, but it is very important that we continue his development at a measured pace.”  


Karamako in Action on Monday. (Photo from The Daily Mirror)


The Lisbon Lions 1967 group also honored the young man’s achievement on Facebook.

“This boy is special, it’s really unusual for a boy of 13 to play for the U-20s,” they posted.

“To put it in perspective, Kristoffer Ajer plays in that team and he’s 6ft 5in.”

The fans are already worried after Barcelona scouts took note of the player that many cash-rich clubs will try to snitch the sensational midfielder. However, according to the mirror, Dembele’s parents are happily settled in Scotland and are delighted with the progress he’s made on the development squad.

Which Country will he play for?

A tug of war over his international eligibility may be at hand in the near future because of all the nations he can play for.

Dembele was born in London, making him eligible to play for England, but can also play for Ivory Coast since that’s both his parent’s heritage.

He also qualifies for Scotland because he’s been at school for more than five years in the country.

It’s still too early for Dembele and he may have a long way to go, but it only seems right now that he’s going all the way up.

Barcelona scouts made plenty of notes on Dembele during the tournament and other leading European clubs are likely to follow suit.


Featured Photo: Karamoko playing against Hearts in the Under-20 Development League. (Photo from The Daily Mirror)


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