WATCH: Chelsea Youngster Kendry Paez Exchanges Shirts With Lionel Messi

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Lionel Messi and Kendry Paez. (X)

Paez, who is set to make his Premier League debut next season, shared a hug before exchanging shirts with the legendary World Cup winner after the conclusion of the intrnational game between Ecuador and Argentina.

Chelsea wonderkid Kendry Paez had the privilege of exchanging shirts with Lionel Messi after an international friendly between Argentina and Ecuador in Chicago on June 10. Paez, who is set to make his Premier League debut next season, is regarded as one of the hottest young prospects. Despite being a 17-year-old, he has already started representing the Ecuador senior team on the global stage. He made his first international appearance in September last year. Before heading to Copa America, Paez got an opportunity to share the pitch with his idol Messi. The Argentine captain also gave Paez his iconic No. 10 jersey as a memento.

Argentina secured a narrow victory in the friendly against Ecuador. Angel Di Maria scored the only goal for the reigning World Champions in the 40th minute. In the 56th minute, Messi was subbed in replacing Di Maria. The Inter Miami star enjoyed a good outing but failed to increase the lead for Argentina.

After the match was wrapped up, Messi was spotted interacting with Paez, who also wears the No. 10 shirt for Ecuador. The duo shook hands and shared a hug before exchanging their jerseys. The moment was captured on the broadcaster’s camera and went viral in no time.

Paez played for Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian Serie A last season before signing a £17.2million contract with Chelsea. The youngster will officially join the Blues after the Copa America. Paez hit the headlines last September when he became the youngest South American footballer to score a goal in the World Cup qualifiers.

Apart from Chelsea, some other top European clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Manchester City also kept their eyes on Kendry Paez. The teenager has already drawn comparisons with players like Messi and Di Maria for his exceptional skills and footwork.

For Independiente del Valle, Paez has played 53 matches across all competitions. He has netted eleven goals while providing 8 assists. Paez will return to action when Ecuador take on Bolivia for an international friendly on June 13 in Pennsylvania.

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