‘Turkish Messi announces himself’ – young stars shining at Euro 2024

Another match, another youngster taking centre stage at Euro 2024.

Arda Guler curled in an early contender for goal of the tournament as Turkey broke Georgia hearts in their European Championship debut with a 3-1 win.

The 19-year-old ‘Turkish Messi’ became the third teenager to score on their first appearance in the Euros - after Ferenc Bene for Hungary against Spain in 1964 and Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal against Greece in 2004 – with a brilliant 20-yard strike.

He is also the youngest player to score on his European Championship debut.

Guler joined Real Madrid in July from Fenerbahce and, after initially struggling for fitness and form, finished the season with five goals in five league matches to win La Liga and become the first Turkish player to lift the Champions League.

Former Wales defender Ashley Williams told BBC One: “An incredible goal. We spoke about this being a chance to announce himself on the major tournament scene and boy did he do that. He showed his quality. We were expecting to see something from him, that is unbelievable.”

Former England defender Stephen Warnock added BBC Radio 5 Live: "Earlier on in the game we saw Arda Guler roaming round the pitch seeing those nice touches that he possesses.

"The moment of magic that we saw with the goal was quite brilliant - that is only a glimpse of what he can do."

And, with veterans like Robert Lewandowski, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and 41-year-old Pepe possibly in their last European Championship, Guler is just the latest of the new generation to show European football is in good hands.

“The Turkish Messi has delivered. What a tournament this is becoming for the youngsters,” said Guy Mowbray.

Euro 2024’s shining stars

Jamal Musiala: Bayern Munich's 21-year-old forward caught the eye in Germany's opening-day rout off Germany. Musiala, who represented England at youth level having spent much of his childhood in the country, was likened to Kaka by Arsenal legend Ian Wright post match.

Florian Wirtz: Another Germany youngster who took centre stage on Friday night. The 21-year-old Bayer Leverkusen forward became the youngest player to score for Germany at a European Championship.

Lamine Yamal: The Barcelona 16-year-old became the youngest man to play at the European Championship as he played a key role in Spain's vibrant 3-0 win against Croatia on Saturday. Yamal made a mockery of his age as he continually danced his way through Croatia's defence, helping his country make a real statement in their Euro 2024 opener.

Jude Bellingham: England's 20-year-old, who plays for Real Madrid, is the first European player to make an appearance at three major international tournaments before turning 21. The midfielder scored the Three Lions' winner against Serbia.