56.com video for those in China after the jump.
Li Ming, a 12-year-old who plays on Qingdao’s Chengyang Experimental No. 2 Primary School, captured Chinese soccer fans’ attention recently with his ball-handling, passing, set-piece kicks, and lob shots over goalies’ heads. All the above can be seen the in embedded video, a game vs. Qingdao Quartet Experimental Primary School in the finals of the “Mayor’s Cup” tournament.
Li, who the commentators in the video refer to as “No. 10″ — which just happens to be Lionel Messi’s number — propelled his team to a 5-2 win. By propelled I mean did everything, scoring four goals (a penalty, a strike, a header, and a chip shot) and assisting on the other. Quite the performance, even if he has a way to go before meriting comparisons to this man. [UPDATE, 6/5: A long way.] If young Li survives China’s sports system, maybe he’ll just become the soccer star this country so desperately seeks.