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25.04.2007 14:20

Two debuts to remember

Bojan Krkic has made his first team debut at the same age as Lionel Messi did and in similar circumstances, as he was given his chance to taste life at the top level in a friendly encounter.

The Barça B striker scored twice in the game against Al-Ahly on Wednesday evening and the fact that he is just 16 have seen parallels drawn between him and Messi, who was given his first game against Porto by coach Frank RIjkaard at the same age.

Porto and Cairo

Both players will have fond memories of their debuts in Porto and Cairo respecitvely. Messi was called up to appear in the game when FC Barcelona helped inaugurate Porto's new stadium, Do Dragao, only a few months before the Portuguese team would go on to lift the Champions League trophy. The young Argentinian came on as a second half substitute in place of Fernando Navarro and enjoyed himself against José Mourinho's side. Bojan , on the other hand, started the game in Egypt against Al-Ahly in front of an almost full house as the host club celebrated their centenary with a game against the Blaugrana on Wednesday evening.

Dangerous going forward

From the start they both demonstrated their speed and ability to cause danger in front of goal. Messi showed the potential that he had by having the clearest chances in the game in Portugal three years ago. While the Argentinian was unable to register a goal, Bojan enjoyed more luck in his first senior outing as he scored his first for Rijkaard's side against an opponent that gave very little away.

Fourth in the record boks

After making his appearance against Al-Ahly, Bojan has become the fourth youngest player to make his Barça debut in the histoy of the club. The record will be a very difficult one to beat, however, as Paulino Alcántara first played when he was just 15 years, four months and 18 days old. The player with Philippino origins also made his debut in an official encounter as he played in the Catalan Championship and scored three goals to make it all the more impressive.

In second place is Haruna Babangida who played his first game for the senior side aged 15 years, nine months and 11 days, during a friendly in the 1997-98 campaign. Messi us in third place as he was 16 years, four months and 23 days when he appeared against Porto and Bojan slots into fourth spot as he was 16 yers, seven months and 26 days old on Wednesday.
Two debuts to remember
Eight seasons with Barça
Bojan Krkic joined Barça at the start of the 1999-2000 season. The Linyola-born player came from the Bellpuig School of Football as an infant. He has passed through every level of the Blaugrana club before being given his big chance this week to play for the first team in Egypt.

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