Three years ago Maria Makino (now 17) said this when she was live at J-MELO 10th Anniversary SPECIAL (Nov 15. 2015):
“Ten years from now I hope I’ll be the leader of Morning Musume. I’m a big fan of Michishige Sayumi. I want to devote myself to Morning Musume like she did”
Somehow I believe her but it’s still seven years to go as a member in Morning Musume & Hello! Project. You never konw. Maria might be the leader much earlier than in 2025.
These magazine page scans are from latest Weekly Shonen Champion.