Sport

The player who outperformed Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo at the age of 18

At the age of 18, none of the three biggest stars in world football had achieved what Ousmane Dembele had achieved.

Ousmane Dembele announced himself to the world with an outstanding breakthrough season at Rennes two years ago. At barely 18 years of age, he scored 12 goals in his first 20 games in the French top flight.

Messi needed 38 games to reach the 12 goal mark, whilst Ronaldo didn’t get there until his 81st game.

With regard to other ‘modern greats’, the story is a familiar one, Ibrahimovic scored 12 goals in his first 32 games, whilst Neymar managed the same feat in 41 matches.

Dembele, freshly announced as a Barcelona player on Monday, stood out from an early age with Rennes, showing an ability in front of goal often unseen in someone of such tender years and something which he must now show on a regular basis at the Camp Nou.

Funnily enough, it was during that incredible debut season that Barca first started keeping tabs on the French international. His impressive start in Ligue 1 only matched by that of his club.

In the end, Rennes’ inexperienced side fell short but Dembele had already impressed sufficiently. Last summer the 20-year-old was close to a move to the Bernabeu, but he wound up choosing Dortmund owing to the increased chance of playing regular first-team football.

That didn’t dissuade Barca though who continued to keep tabs on the player and now, the man who had a better record aged 18 than Messi is set to line up alongside the Argentine at the Camp Nou.

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