Lionel Messi’s 3-year-old son Thiago is set to follow in his legendary father’s footsteps by joining one of Barcelona’s newest youth setups.

Thiago, who will celebrate his fourth birthday on the 2nd of November this year, will reportedly be one of the first ever students enrolled in a pilot programme, which is a new initiative by the club for its youngest members, according to SPORT. This programme by the FCBEscola will be meant for children between the ages of 3 and 5.

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi carries his son Thiago after the UEFA Champions League Final football match between Juventus and FC Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on June 6, 2015. FC Barcelona won the match 1-3. AFP PHOTO / OLIVER LANG (Photo credit should read OLIVER LANG/AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi carries his son Thiago after the UEFA Champions League Final football match between Juventus and FC Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on June 6, 2015. FC Barcelona won the match 1-3. AFP PHOTO

This is being opened by Oscar Grau, who is the director of FCBEscola. Should the students enjoy it and are doing well, they get promoted through to the higher age groups of the FCBEscola and it was revealed by Adria Albets on El Larguero, that the young Thiago will be part of the programme as he takes the first steps in following the footsteps of his 29-year-old father.

Lionel Messi’s association with Barcelona began from the age of 13, after then first team director Charly Rexach offered the young Argentine a contract on a paper napkin. It’s a story which is now steeped in legend and was the beginning of a new chapter in the making of arguably the greatest footballer to have ever lived. Barcelona’s youth setup is widely regarded as one of the best in the world and the famed La Masia academy has produced champions like Carles Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique.

After Messi joined, he would go on become an integral part of one of Barcelona’s most successful youth sides, nicknamed the “Baby Dream Team.” In the 2002-03 season, he scored an astonishing 36 goals in 30 games with Cadetes A in the process of winning what was an unprecedented treble of the league, Spanish and Catalan cups. The final of the Copa Catalunya against Espanyol is to this day referred to as  ‘partido de la máscara’, which translates to ‘the final of the mask’. Messi had suffered an injury to his cheekbone prior to the game and had to wear a protective face mask, if he wanted to play. But he found it difficult over the course of the game and took it off midway through the match. He scored 2 goals in 10 minutes and was later substituted. At the end of the season, he and Cesc Fabregas received offers to join Arsenal, which the latter accepted. However, Messi would stay on, and the rest is history.

It was revealed earlier in the week by Messi that his eldest doesn’t seem to be interested in football, but would wait to see if he got interested in the future now that Barcelona have started something for the kids. It would be extremely unfair to expect anything from young Thiago, despite having his father’s genes. But one expects he would be closely monitored by the academy to see whether he shares any similar traits with his father.

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