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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

Nine-year-old Irish prodigy signs for Barcelona academy

Zak Gilsenan will be educated at the same school as Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi.

Image: Andres Kudacki/AP/Press Association Images


The nine-year-old from Castleknock in Dublin has signed for FC Barcelona after scoring seven goals in a trial game for the Catalan giants.

The Sun reports that Zak saw off 400 other young hopefuls to seal a place at the FCBEscola football academy, the same school that educated the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi.

Zak’s father Stephen revealed how the whole family will now move to Barcelona in a bid to help Zak to realise his dream.

“We were living in Australia when Zak was spotted by Spurs, who were running football camps over there,” Stephen said.

“We came home with the intention of letting Zak go to Spurs, but in the meantime we had a call from Barcelona. One of their former players saw him playing in Oz and recommended him to Barca.

“They offered Zak a trial in May and it was a great experience. It consisted of over 400 boys from all over the world. He was asked back in June when it was cut down to 90.

“Then in a match between the top 16 players, Zak just ran riot and scored seven goals. He was phenomenal. Then we heard back two weeks ago and they offered him a spot.”

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