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Revealed that little ‘Lionel Messi’ has added backflips to his repertoire at Newcastle United Academy

4 years ago

Last summer, a youngster dubbed the little ‘Lionel Messi’ was added by Rafa Benitez to the younger age groups at Newcastle United.

The club had organised a tournament for schools and the youngster, actual name Ryan Hyacinth, had impressed with his left footed skills and 10 goals.

Rafa was giving out the trophies on the day and invited Ryan on the spot to come along and join the Academy set-up.

It later transpired (see below) that the little ‘Lionel Messi’ was actually the son of a former Newcastle United player.

It is now 10 years since Celestine Babayaro left Newcastle and he has been talking about his son in the NUFC set-up, as well as a few other things.

Babayaro was mainly talking to Sky Sports about Nigeria’s upcoming participation in the World Cup finals but thoughts also turned to Newcastle United.

The one-time left-back says that his son, who is now 11, has now copied the backflips the former Nigerian international used to do after scoring a goal (not that we saw much of that at Newcastle…only the one), after watching video footage of his dad’s playing days.

It turns out Celestine Babayaro still lives in the north east and takes a keen interest in Newcastle United.

The former player says ‘Rafa is doing a great job here’ and hopes Mike Ashley ‘will do everything possible to keep Rafa.’

As everybody speculates as to exactly how much the United boss will have to spend this summer, or even whether he will stay, Babayaro points to what could be possible if Rafa’s judgement is backed, saying ‘You can see what he has done in the loan market while others are spending millions.’

Celestine Babayaro talking to Sky Sports:

“It is going really well for him.

“Ryan went to play in a tournament at Newcastle’s academy with his school.

“Fortunately, Rafa Benitez wanted to come and present the trophy to the winner and Ryan had scored, I think, 10 goals in the tournament. So Rafa asked him to come and play for the U12s.

“He does do the backflips, I’m being completely serious with you.

“He saw a video of me doing them.

“He decided he had to learn how to do them so now he does them without even putting his hands on the floor which is great. I love watching him play.

“Rafa is doing a great job here.

“You can see what he has done in the loan market while others are spending millions.

“I just hope they will do everything possible to keep Rafa.

If they let Rafa leave, I am not sure who they can get who will keep this team where they are at the minute without signing a lot of big name players.”

The Mag – 12 July 2017:

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.”


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