Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo’s record, following the same path as Pele

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo’s record, following the same path as Pele

Lamine Yamal is causing a stir at Euro 2024 with his classy performances, continuously breaking records on the way to bringing Spain to the final.

LIKE MESSI

“Lamine Yamal is only 12 years old but could cause Barcelona headaches in the coming years. This boy is likened to a copy of Lionel Messi in every aspect: dribbling, one-touch passing and finishing.

In the opening match of the U13 La Liga, Lamine Yamal scored a goal in the style of Messi. He is considered the most promising player of the academy, but will Barcelona be able to keep Yamal when he turns 16? That is something that the club’s leadership will have to worry about.”

This was the comment of Marca in 2019, when Lamine Yamal began to be mentioned with the superstar qualities that were gradually revealed in the Barcelona U13 team. And then 4 years later, Barca’s leadership helped Marca get the answer to the above question, by extending the contract with Lamine Yamal until 2026, with a termination clause worth 1 billion euros.

Don’t be surprised by Yamal’s explosive performance at Euro 2024, because before that in the 2023/24 season, this midfielder soon became a mainstay of Barcelona at the age of 16.

Statistics show that Lamine Yamal played 50 matches, had 7 goals, 10 assists for Barca last season. In La Liga, this player played in 37/38 rounds, and in the Champions League, Yamal was used in all 10 matches of Barcelona.

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo's record, following the same path as Pele - Photo 1.

BREAKING RONALDO’S RECORD

Lamine Yamal’s story at Euro 2024 is synonymous with the word “record”.

On the day he played in the opening match against Croatia, he became the youngest player to play at the Euros at the age of 16 years and 338 days, breaking the previous record of Kacper Kozłowski (Poland). And on the same day, Lamine Yamal also broke the record for the youngest player to provide an assist with his pass to Dani Carvajal.

By the time he reached the round of 16, Lamine Yamal became the youngest player to participate in the knockout round of a Euro, breaking the record of Jude Bellingham (England).

 

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo's record, following the same path as Pele - Photo 2.

Not stopping there, with 3 assists in the matches against Croatia, Georgia and Germany, Lamine Yamal has officially become the teenager with the most assists in the history of the tournament, surpassing Ronaldo’s achievement at Euro 2004 (2 assists). This young man also became the fourth Spanish player to have 3 assists in a Euro era, equal to Cesc Fàbregas (2008), David Silva (2012) and Dani Olmo (2021).

And then in the semi-final against France, Lamine Yamal continued to set a new record: Youngest player to score at Euro – 16 years and 360 days.

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo's record, following the same path as Pele - Photo 3.

Lamine Yamal’s long-range strike helped Spain come from behind to beat France 2-1.

GO THE SAME PATH AS PELE

In a bakery in Rocafonda, a neighborhood in Mataro, a coastal city near Barcelona, ​​a replica of the World Cup trophy sits next to pastries. “It’s for when my nephew wins the World Cup,” said Abdul, the bakery’s owner.

Abdul’s nephew is none other than Lamine Yamal.

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo's record, following the same path as Pele - Photo 4.

From the moment Lamine Yamal broke into the Barcelona first team, making his debut and scoring for Spain after just turning 16, he has been a source of pride at Rocafonda. Everyone here has a Lamine Yamal story to tell.

A man in the park introduced himself as living in the same building as Mounir, Lamine Yamal’s father.

A bar owner proudly displays a shirt signed by Lamine Yamal, and this is also a place frequented by Mr Mounir.

One hairdresser boasted of cutting Lamine Yamal’s grandmother’s hair, while another elderly woman said her grandson went to school with the Barcelona star.

Everyone in Rocafonda talks about Lamine Yamal. And the midfielder also remembers where he grew up. Whenever he scores a goal, Yamal celebrates by making the number 304 sign with his hands. This is the last three digits of the postal code of his hometown of Rocafonda.

 

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo's record, following the same path as Pele - Photo 5.

Lamine Yamal’s 304 celebration style.

Since Lamine Yamal became famous, Uncle Abdul’s bakery has gradually become a place where people gather to watch matches of Barca and Spain. “If you are in Rocafonda, you cannot miss this bakery,” wrote ESPN.

And here, in addition to a replica of the World Cup trophy, there are some memorabilia about Lamine Yamal. There is the 2019 La Liga U13 Top Scorer trophy; a banner with the date 29/4/2023 and the time 83:48, the moment Lamine made his debut for Barcelona’s first team; and many more.

“When he was six years old, we received a report from a scout in Mataro,” Jordi Roura, Barça’s former academy director, told ESPN. “He told us about a boy who was different to everyone else his age and asked us to watch him.

“A few days later, after reading the reports, we invited Lamine and some other kids to a game at Ciutat Esportiva to watch him. This boy impressed us with his good ball control, high speed and confidence. We decided to bet on Lamine Yamal right from that moment.”

 

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo's record, following the same path as Pele - Photo 6.

Meanwhile, former Barça sporting director Ramon Planes shared:

“The most amazing and remarkable thing about Lamine is his football intelligence. Lamine plays like no other. People put this guy as a winger, but he can play any position he wants.

He’s an all-round footballer, no doubt about it. He’s a fantastic kid, with a fantastic personality for a 16-year-old.”

Lamine Yamal and the magical age of 16: Compared to Messi, breaking Ronaldo's record, following the same path as Pele - Photo 7.

Pele won the 1958 World Cup at the age of 17.

In the history of world football, there are only 2 players who shined brightly at the age of 16 in this way. One is Lamine Yamal, and the other is the “King of Football” Pele.

Pele first joined the Brazilian national team on July 7, 1957 at the age of 16 years and 9 months and immediately scored in his debut match against Argentina. In June 1958, Pele stunned everyone by scoring 6 goals at the World Cup, contributing greatly to Brazil’s first world championship.

Lamine Yamal is now also very close to his first major title with the national team, as Spain is present in the final of Euro 2024.

And looking at the performance of this 16-year-old star, perhaps everyone hopes that Lamine Yamal will keep his feet firmly on the ground, will continue to bring many peak moments in the future, and will gradually step into the temple of football legends.

Can the 16-year-old do it? The whole football world will be waiting.

 

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