Borussia Dortmund’s prodigiously talented striker Youssoufa Moukoko has listed Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and former Signal Iduna Park favourite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as two of the players he looks up to as he plots his own route to the upper echelons of world football.
Moukoko may only be 14, but that hasn’t stopped him from scoring 24 goals in just 13 outings for the BVB U17s so far this season, just months on from helping them to the U17 league title at Bayern Munich’s expense.
Moukoko’s talent is such that it has been difficult for him to drift under the radar, although he came to an agreement with the Germany U16s last year to have an extended break from national team duty.
Watch: Moukoko's wondergoal against Bayer Leverkusen on the way to last season's U17 title!
The talented youngster has been more adventurous on social media recently, trading posts with Aubameyang, who left BVB for Arsenal in January with 98 Bundesliga goals to his name.
“My relationship with him is very good,” Moukoko explained in an exclusive interview with SportBild. “When I was scoring goals for the U17s he posted to me on Instagram a couple of times, then we started talking. We met and talked at the training ground sometimes, too.”
“He’s like a brother to me. He gives me advice and warns me what to stay away from. For example, I shouldn’t rest on my laurels, but score more goals. I shouldn’t think I’m the star of the team. Don’t get ahead of yourself, just keep going, then I can make it.”
While Aubameyang struggled to find his feet at a number of clubs – AC Milan and AS Monaco to name a few – before hitting his goalscoring stride at Dortmund, Moukoko’s stratospheric rise through the youth academy ranks has more closely resembled Messi’s at Barcelona thus far.
“I play with Dortmund or Barcelona on my PlayStation” Moukoko explained. “As a player, Messi has always been my role model. Nobody else can do what he does. To be honest, my goal is to become a pro player with Dortmund, win the Champions League with Borussia, and to win the Ballon d'Or.”
Not that Moukoko has ignored Aubameyang’s advice. “I have time to develop,” he said. “I want to play for the U19s from next summer on, then we’ll see what works. The U19s is already a step up in pace from the U17s, so it doesn’t have to go too fast.”