10-year-old Irish footballer extends Barcelona deal

10-year-old Irish footballer extends Barcelona deal

YOUNG Zak Gilsenan might not yet be commanding the headlines of Neymar but the 10-year-old Dubliner can still call himself a Barcelona player.

The Castleknock boy has signed a new two year deal with the Spanish champions after impressing in his debut season with the club.

The youngster was previously spotted while playing for the Perth Glory youth team in Australia and has impressed his coaches enough to be kept on at Barcelona’s La Masia football academy.

Gilsenan was plucked from 400 hopefuls last June by the academy, which goes under the official name of FCBEscola.

He scored seven goals in the final trial game to confirm his place at the club.

Players that have come through the FCBEscola academy include Lionel Messi,  Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.

Gilsenan’s former coach in Perth, Callum Salmon said. “Whilst Zak’s technical ability was very special, it was his character overall which was most impressive. His attitude, enthusiasm and hard work were outstanding.”

Gilsenan has been used as a striker, right midfield and right back at the academy and has captained Barcelona’s youth side.

Might he even be in the Ireland line up at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?