Portuguese publication Record have claimed that former Dundee United wonderkid and Hibernian loanee Ryan Gauld has been told he can leave Sporting Lisbon this summer.

The 23-year-old moved to the Portuguese capital at just 18 but only made six appearances in the Scottish capital for the Hibees last season.

Initially a promising prospect

After beginning his career as a teenager on Tayside, Ryan Gauld was dubbed as the next big thing by Scottish media. Comparisons were even made to Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

The Daily Record also claimed that the Catalans’ fiercest rivals Real Madrid were keeping tabs on Gauld.

The ‘Mini Messi’ had the world at his feet. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/EuroFootball/Getty Images)

Fans nationwide were intrigued to see how he’d get on in Portugal. Sporting are one of the ‘Big Three’ and past academy graduates include Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. So Sporting looked to be the perfect pathway for Gauld to continue his development.

Left B-hind

However, Gauld’s spell at ‘Verde e brancos’ has seen him predominantly feature for Sporting’s B team. Various loan spells at Vitória de Setúbal, Aves and Farnese haven’t seen him play too regularly.

Ronaldo and Figo were two of the finest talents to emerge at Estádio José Alvalade. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Despite his injuries, he did pick up a Taça de Portugal (Portuguese Cup)’s winners medal with Aves, their first victory in the competition following a win over parent club Sporting.

When Hibs moved to loan Gauld in January, it seemed like the perfect match. A young playmaker with the potential to thrive in a side that, for the majority of time, plays good, quick, attacking football. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way.

Should Gauld fulfil his potential, Scotland would have a superstar on their hands. (photo by Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Injuries appear to have got the better of the former wonderkid

It’s always sad to see such promising talents fall away due to injury. But Gauld is still a young man, he’s 24 in December. His Sporting deal still has a year to run but it appears the Leões are looking to cash in or let the Scot leave for a minimal fee.

With the right system in place, and if he stays injury free, Gauld can still be a success for his next suitors.

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