No sooner has Neymar made his move to Barcelona than hey presto, his former employers Santos have produced another one, with 17-year-old Victor Andrade being tagged the ‘new Neymar’ and linked to Chelsea, Barcelona and anyone else with a money clip fat enough to cloud their judgement.
Such comparisons usually end up belying the lack of evidence upon which they’re founded, as our five ‘next’ men gone wrong will remind you.
Ashley Young, aka ‘the new Ryan Giggs’
Aidy Boothroyd – who oversaw Young’s development at Watford – was the sage responsible for bestowing the heavyweight comparison on his former Hornets star.
Having forced his way firmly into the England reckoning whilst at Villa, the 28-year-old has been deeply unconvincing during his time at Old Trafford, as evidenced by the fact that the ‘old’ Ryan Giggs has featured in 11 more games for United – 5/2 third favourites for Premier League glory this season – over the last two campaigns.
Carlos Marinelli, aka ‘the new Diego Maradona’
The Argentinean legend has had more reincarnations than the Dalai Lama, with 15 widely acknowledged new versions to the celebrity Bradford City fan’s 13.
Juan Roman Riquelme (perhaps) and Leo Messi (definitely) need not blush at that comparison, but for Marinelli – who had played just twice for Boca Juniors when Middlesbrough signed him – it seems like a cruel joke.
He shone in just once game for Boro during an innocuous Teeside sojourn, bagging a brace against Derby County, a scoring feat which yielded one quarter of his total career goal haul.
Bruno Cheyrou, aka ‘the new Zinedine Zidane’
Gerrard Houllier reckoned it a canny idea to liken Cheyrou to the great Zizou following his arrival at Anfield after a couple of impressive seasons at Lens.
However, he seemed to require an eternity on the ball in his early outings and by the time he’d adapted to the pace of the Premier League, the manager who had signed him was close to being given the boot. New boss Rafa Benitez took one look at him and farmed him out on loans for the duration of his contract.
Nelson Oliveira aka ‘the new Eric Cantona’
It’s too early to tell whether the Portuguese King Eric has definitively failed to live up to his comparison after impressive substitute appearances for Benfica combined with the ongoing Portuguese centre-forward shortage to hand him a surprise inclusion in the Selecao squad for Euro 2012.
A perennial substitute at the tournament, just as he had been for Benfica before and Deportivo La Coruna since, he seems to be at his most adept when offering his coaches reasons to avoid starting him in matches of any kind.
Keirrison, aka ‘the new Romario’
The man whose name was a portmanteau of Keith Richards and Jim Morrison decidedly failed to rock the Camp Nou after joining Barca for €14m from Palmeiras in 2009.
His playing style had been compared by many – not least himself – to former Barca legend Romario, yet unbelievably he has still to play a competitive game for his employers, clocking up five loan moves as his contract in Catalunya continues to roll and roll.