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Jul 2, 2014

Sporting Lisbon sign 'Baby Messi'

Ryan Gauld scored eight goals in 38 games for Dundee United last season.

Ryan Gauld, the Scottish teenager who has been nicknamed "Baby Messi," has joined Sporting Lisbon on contract which has a 60 million-euro buyout clause.

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The Portuguese club have signed the 18-year-old from Dundee United for an undisclosed fee.

The attacking midfielder, who has agreed a six-year contract, is a Scotland under-21 international and reportedly attracted attention from several major English clubs before signing for Sporting.

A statement on the Scottish side's official website read: "Subject to the usual formalities, Dundee United confirm the transfer of Ryan Gauld to Sporting Lisbon, for an undisclosed fee, was completed last night. Everyone at the club wishes Ryan sincere best wishes in his future career."

Gauld scored eight goals in 38 games for the Terrors last season, helping them reach the final of the Scottish Cup.

He earned his "Baby Messi" nickname due to his similar dribbling style to the Barcelona player and baby-face features, while he was also being hyped up by youth coaches while he was still at school.

Sporting, the former club of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo, will compete in the Champions League next season after finishing second to city rivals Benfica in the Primeira Liga last term.

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