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▶ Lamine Yamal: The teenager with the world at his feet [2024/03/31   ]

Following a routine 2-0 win for Barcelona over Cadiz in the second game of La Liga's season, Blaugrana left-back Alejandro Balde did what many players do after a game, and acquired another player's shirt. Except, unlike tradition, Balde not only didn't swap his own shirt for a new one, but he took the jersey of one of his own team-mates.

Indeed, the shirt belonged to teenage sensation Lamine Yamal, who had just made history in becoming Barcelona's youngest-ever La Liga starter. After snatching the shirt and fighting tooth and nail to keep ahold of the souvenir, Balde eventually gave it back. A joke or not, it's seems clear that the shirt will become a priceless ornament in the history of one of Europe's biggest clubs.

The son of a Moroccan father and an Equatorial Guinean mother, Yamal joined the famed Barcelona youth ranks at the age of seven, where he developed into one of La Masia's finest exports. While Lamal is a of a rather slender build, he stands at 5ft 9in and already boasts physical qualities which helped to set him apart from the rest.

He possesses a blistering burst of speed and impressive strength which help him knock the ball past his opponents and makes him odds-on favourite for plenty of one-on-one duels. That burst of speed comes with plenty of control, too, allowing the teenager to slow down, before rapidly gaining speed again - making him a defender's worst nightmare. A left-footed right-winger, Yamal will now look to secure his place on the right side of Barça's 4-3-3 shape.

Barcelona coach Xavi, who knows a thing or two about teenage stardom, hasn't been light on praising his club's latest prodigy: “The expectations are very high. He's going to be a starter not based on the coach’s whim, but we see him capable of making a difference," the legendary Spaniard stated. "He is smart and his decision-making is almost always perfect.

"For me, he’s extraordinary, and I hope he will be at Barcelona for many years to come. He is a player to define an era. He’s an extraordinary boy, very humble, he works hard, he likes football and I see him ready. He’s just 16-years-old. It’s amazing.”

His coach with the Spanish national side, Luis de la Fuente, is keen, though, to keep sight of what Yamal will need to do in order to continue his current trajectory: “The training processes are faster because they [his team-mates] are a step ahead," the 62-year-old stated. "We must be sensible, protect him, train him, but we should be calm because he will go through moments that we have to understand, but he is ready for those moments."

The teenager is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, and stays in touch with his roots. He celebrates his goals by showing the number 304 with his fingers in honour of the postcode of his hometown Mataro, Catalonia. He is described as a calm teenager who is focused on his profession and is close to his family.

With the road to the FIFA World Cup 26™ slowly coming into view, onlookers will be hopeful Yamal receives the luck, and patience to match, to glisten on the world stage for years to come.

The records Yamal already owns

    He is the youngest debutant in the history of Barcelona at just 15 years and 290 days, when he came on as a sub against Real Betis

    In the aforementioned clash with Cadiz this season, he became the youngest starter in LaLiga in the 21st century at 16 years and 38 days

    He broke the record previously held by team-mate Gavi by becoming the youngest player to appear for Spain at 16 years and 57 days

    On 8 September 2023, he became the youngest player to score for Spain in the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifier against Georgia

- The origianl text resource is from FIFA Official Website

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