Lothar Matthaus believes former Chelsea academy product Jamal Musiala can walk in Lionel Messi’s footsteps.

Speaking to the BBC, Matthaus paid his German compatriot the highest compliment by comparing him to arguably the greatest footballer of all time.

Musiala certainly has some way to go to achieve even a portion of Messi’s magical career.

Yet, at just 19, there is plenty of room for the Bayern Munich youngster to achieve huge success in the sport.

Photo by ANP via Getty Images

He has already made a century of appearances for the Bundesliga champions, won the top flight in his homeland twice, plus is a Champions League and Club World Cup winner.

Musiala makes World Cup bow

The teenager is also an established international, having played 19 senior games for his nation.

Two of those arrived at the World Cup in Qatar, where he has left further impression on the global stage.

His performance against Spain yesterday was once again mature beyond his young years, playing above those senior in every sense of the word.

It was Musiala’s terrific touch and turn that laid the ball into the path of Niclas Fullkrug, who in turn smashed his shot past to equalise for Germany.    

Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

Fullkrug was Hansi Flick’s hero on the night, but the real protagonist was in a much more youthful form.

Jamal Musiala or Lionel Messi?

Musiala might be the main man for his country for years to come, much like – but not at quite the same level – as Messi has for Argentina.  

“He can be the Messi of the future, he is excellent. I have loved him for the last two years, I love his style of football and I love his personality,” claimed Matthaus, who won the World Cup with Germany in 1990.

“He is 19 years old, he is doing the things that will make him a top footballer. He has great passing, he is clever with his thinking and he loves football.

“Musiala can be the next Messi because when Messi was 17, 18 years old, I met him for the first time when he played against Hungary and he got sent off after 40 seconds.

“He came on to the field and tried to show he loves football, he has a passion for football. I have been a big fan of him from two years ago when he first broke through.”

Photo by Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Nothing like the pressure of being likened to the seven-time Ballon d’Or victor to spur you on.

Chelsea seemingly did not see the Messi in Musiala, when they allowed him to leave the development set-up and join Bayern in 2019.

They tend to have a decent eye for talent, but this one has regrettably slipped by them.

"Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produced regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League. Nathaniel is a full-time writer for the Chelsea Chronicle, and was formerly their social media man. His footballing career reached the sparkling heights of winning the Under-13s Bloxham Tournament in 2011."