Get your daily update and weekly newsletter by signing up today!


Father comments on ‘Lionel Messi’ comparisons as son joins up with Newcastle United

5 years ago

Tuesday saw headlines dubbing Ryan Hyacinth as the new ‘Little Lionel Messi’ after he was invited to train with the Newcastle United youth set-up.

Playing for Cambois Primary School, the 10 year old helped his team win Monday’s Foundation Cup, an event held at Newcastle United’s Academy for local primary schools.

Rafa Benitez handed out the medals & trophies and afterwards it was reported that the Newcastle boss had invited Ryan to come and train at NUFC.

It also turned out that the local youngster already had a strong connection with Newcastle United, as his father is Celestine Babayaro, who played for the Magpies from 2005 to 2008.

The former Newcastle defender now works in the media and has been speaking about the headlines created by his son.

Celestine Babayaro talking to

”It’s nice to have him as Ryan, not little Lionel Messi (laughs).

“He still has a long way to go if he is to make it professionally as a footballer, but that is his wish, and as his father I have to pray and support his wishes to be a footballer.

”I understand the reason behind the little Lionel Messi tag.

“He is left footed, like I was during my playing days.

“There is an unwritten rule that somehow means every left footed kid is compared to the legendary Messi.

“Ryan still has time and age to reach the same height if he keeps working hard.”

The Mag – 11 July 2017:

After meeting the competitors and handing out medals & trophies on Monday, Rafa Benitez was asked if a young talent may be discovered at one of these invitation Foundation events:

“It’s great if you can.

“It’s not the main idea but at the same time you come across one talent nobody knew about…and then maybe he will be the new Lionel Messi!

“It (looking for local talent) has always been important but now it’s even more important with Brexit.

“It is important to bring young talent through and keep our club growing with the link between the city and the team.

“I think in the end what you are looking for in football is quality and passion.

“You have these young boys progressing and following the big names at the club and that is what you look for – passion and commitment to the club.”


If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]

Have your say

© 2022 The Mag. All Rights Reserved. Design & Build by Mediaworks