North Korea's academy hoping to produce the future Lionel Messi

The next Lionel Messi could come from North Korea, according to Ri Yu-Il, a coach at the country's solitary football academy.

Yu-Il says the Pyongyang International Football School intends to put North Korea on the football map by propelling the country's players to a level where they can compete with the world's best.

"We are training our students to become super-talented players who can surpass the skills of people like Lionel Messi," he said in an interview with AFP. "For now, I think we should dominate Asia and, in the near future, I hope that we will achieve global dominance."

However, Jorn Andersen, the Norwegian-born coach of North Korea's national team, doesn't agree with Yu-Il.

"No, I don't think [North Korea] can make a Lionel Messi, but I think they can make good players for Asia," Andersen said. "There are many talented players but they always have to stay inside the country. They can't go out.

"When they are always playing inside [North Korea], it's difficult to create better players."

North Korea are currently 126th in FIFA's World Ranking and have encountered problems off the pitch in their bid to progress as a footballing nation. A payment of $1.66 million due to be received from FIFA to fund development had to be withheld because of sanctions in place over the country's nuclear weapons programme.

However, they did qualify for the World Cup in 2010, losing all three of their games in South Africa and conceding 12 goals in a group which featured Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast.

It was the second time they'd reached the World Cup, following their appearance in 1966 when they famously beat Italy before losing to Portugal in the quarterfinals, but have already been knocked out of the qualifying competition for Russia 2018.

Of Andersen's most recent squad, only Pak Kwang-Ryong, who plays as a striker for Swiss side Lausanne, is currently playing in Europe.