The Red Bull Salzburg playmaker pulled plenty of strings on a prominent European stage as his stock continues to rise

Brenden Aaronson admits it is a “dream come true” to be illuminating a Champions League stage, with the United States international starring for Red Bull Salzburg in their impressive 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition.

The 21-year-old, who has earned the nickname ‘Medford Messi’ after being born and raised in New Jersey, was at his creative best for Salzburg on Wednesday as they threatened to claim the notable scalp of the Bundesliga title holders.

Aaronson got the critical touch that allowed Chukwubuike Adamu to fire Salzburg in front and was delighted with his overall display despite seeing Kingsley Coman snatch a last-minute equaliser for Bayern

USMNT star Aaronson, who became the youngest man to create five chances in one Champions League fixture since a 20-year-old Lionel Messi achieved the same feat against Celtic in 2008, told CBS Sports of his growing influence on a continental stage: “It’s a dream come true to play on the biggest stage. And to get a result like we did, one to one, and to think that we can hold out and win the game is amazing.

“I think for us it was just about counterattacking. We got the ball in behind and we countered really well. We were great and we have to continue to do that. Bayern are a tough team to play against with the ball, so we are going to continue to work on it and be ready for the next leg.”

He added on the responsibility that comes with operating as an attacking midfielder: “That’s always my role as a 10, to play between the lines, and see if I can pick up the ball and try to find a final pass. That’s what you do as 10, as well as getting assists and shooting. That’s what I was trying to do.

“It’s great. There are so many young guys with so much talent, it’s really crazy with our team. We just have to keep pushing on and keep developing.”

Aaronson has seen his stock soar since completing a move to Salzburg from Philadelphia Union in January 2021, with the talented youngster unfazed by the challenges he faces in Europe.

He was the subject of bids from Premier League side Leeds United in January, with ex-Arsenal star Thierry Henry not surprised to see interest building in a hot prospect.

The World Cup-winning Frenchman, who came up against Aaronson when in charge of MLS side Montreal Impact, told CBS: “I like him a lot.

“I came across him when I was a coach with Montreal, and he killed us with Philadelphia Union. His activity, the way he sees the game. Ive always been a big fan of him and Im not surprised to see what hes doing right now with Salzburg.

“Hes contagious the way he plays, his energy. His intensity is second to none and he could have scored. He supports the team. Hes a good player. I always thought he was going to be a player. Hes still learning. Lets not get carried away.”

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