Lamine Yamal recently made the headlines after becoming Barcelona's youngest ever LaLiga player, and here's all you need to know about him.
As has been the case with Barcelona for a couple of years, the Bluagrana fans always anticipated the promotion of an academy prospect.
Barcelona has seen the likes of current coach Xavi and his former Spanish teammate Andres Iniesta, Paris Saint Germain star Lionel Messi graduate to become modern legends of the round leather game courtesy of La Masia’s incredible youth system.
Recently, the next player to have captivated the Camp Nou officials is a 15-year-old forward known as Lamine Yamal.
Who is Lamine Yamal?
Who is Lamine Yamal? Yamal made the headlines this weekend in Barcelona’s 4-0 win against Real Betis as he became the youngest Barcelona player to play in LaLiga in the 21st century.
In this article, we will quickly review 7 things you need to know about Barcelona’s latest wonder kid, Lamine Yamal.
7 things to know about Lamine Yamal, Barcelona’s wonderkid dubbed the ‘Next Messi’
1. Lamine Yamal is Spanish-born but of African descent
Lamine Yamal Nasraoui Ebana was born in Mataró, Spain on July 13, 2007, to a Moroccan father and an Equatorial Guinean mother.
However, he spent most of his youth in Barcelona.
2. Lamine Yamal caught Xavi’s eye in 2022
Growing through the youth ranks of La Masia, Yamal was soon viewed as one of the academy's best prospects.
Whilst added to the Juvenil A team already above his age grade for the 2022–23 season, Yamal was selected by Xavi to train with the first team along for the first time in early September 2022, alongside another youngster.
He appeared to be one of the academy members to most impress the Barcelona head coach and Blaugrana legend.
3. Lamine Yamal started off as a striker in his youth
Lamine Yamal is primarily a left-footed right-winger, although he spent his youth as a striker in seven-a-side teams before transitioning to a wider role later on.
Yamal is comfortable anywhere across the forward line but excels on the right flank, allowing him to maximize his dribbling skills and talents.
As a matter of fact, scouts rate Yamal as the best dribbler in the Barcelona academy across all the age groups.
4. Lamine Yamal is Barcelona’s youngest-ever player to play in LaLiga in the 21st century
Lamine Yamal came off the bench as a substitute for La Masia graduate Gavi in the 83rd minute in a 4–0 win against Real Betis in La Liga, becoming the youngest player to ever appear for Barcelona's first team at 15 years, 9 months, and 16 days old.
5. Xavi has compared Lamine Yamal to Lionel Messi
After Yamal’s first-team debut in Barcelona’s 4-0 win against Real Betis, Xavi heaped praise on the youngster, commending him for his initiative and confidence.
'I told him to try things and he did. At 15 years old, just imagine it... He is special and he could have even scored tonight, but [Silva] saved.
'He played with confidence and he showed what he is about. He has no fear and bags of talent. Some of his passes in the final third were really good.', Xavi was quoted to have said after the game.
Xavi also added that his 'innate talent' draws similarity to Barcelona’s legendary Argentine, Lionel Messi.
'He's a similar player because he has that innate talent in the final third which is difficult to find.
'Lamine doesn't seem like a 15-year-old, he's very mature. He's ready [to play] and he is training well. He can mark an era at this club as part of this team.'
Messi made his first-team debut for Barca at age 16 in November of 2003, nearly four years before Yamal was born.
6. Lamine Yamal is not yet signed to Barcelona
Barcelona will have to wait until Yamal's 16th birthday (in three months) so they can offer him a professional contract and secure his future.
But Barca remain confident of securing his signature when he becomes of age in a few months.
7. Lamine Yamal is still eligible to play for Morocco despite his Spanish background
Because he was born in Spain to a Moroccan father and an Equatorial Guinean mother, Yamal is still eligible to represent all three countries.
Although, he remains focused on representing Spain from Under-15 to Under-19 level.
However, since he is yet to make his senior debut, he is still free to switch national team allegiances.
“Everyone talks about him and asks if we are going to 'steal him' from Spain," said Rabie Takassa, a scout for the Moroccan national team, to Cadena SER.
"His technique, his vision of the game, his eye for goals... he is one of the best wingers I have ever seen in my life in academy football.”
Morocco could reportedly try and convince Yamal to represent the Atlas Lions but the World Cup semi-finalists maintain that the decision is still up to him.
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