'New Messi' Pellegri reveals why he chose Monaco over Juve & Arsenal

Dubbed ‘the next Lionel Messi’ by Genoa’s president, the Italy Under-19 international has moved to Ligue 1 in a bid to further his career.

Italian wonderkid Pietro Pellegri has explained that Monaco’s famous talent for youth development persuaded him to choose the club over a host of top European sides.

Monaco completed the signing of 16-year-old Pellegri from Genoa for a reported fee of €25 million on Saturday.

The forward, who was linked with Serie A champions Juventus as well as Arsenal, has agreed a long-term deal at Stade Louis II.

And, according to the youngster, the chance to follow in the footsteps of former Monaco whizzkids such as Kylian Mbappe was irresistible.

Pellegri told Monaco’s website: “I am very happy to join Monaco. I was very quickly convinced by the project, which allows youngsters like me to progress and flourish in the future.

“I will work hard to become an important player for the club in the future.”

Vice-president Vadim Vasilyev added: “We are very pleased to welcome Pietro to Monaco. He’s a very young player who already has experience in Serie A.

“He has great qualities, big potential and we’re convinced that, with time and a lot of work, he will become an important player.

“This is further proof that our work in recent seasons, the results and the players who have come through in our shirt, are attracting the greatest talents in European football.”

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Pellegri, described by Genoa president Enrico Preziosi as “the next Lionel Messi”, became the joint-youngest player to appear in Serie A at the age of 15 years and 280 days in December 2016.

He scored his first league goal in a 3-2 defeat to Roma in May last year, Francesco Totti’s final match for the capital club.