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Wayland Student Press

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June 10, 2024
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Lamine Yamal: A 16-year-old soccer phenomenon

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Credit: Reva Datar
WSPN’s Jeffery Zhang discusses Lamine Yamal’s future career as a star football player.

Lamine Yamal has perhaps the highest skill ceiling of any football player since Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The 16-year-old Spaniard plays as a right winger for La Liga club Futbol Club (FC) Barcelona and has already played in a handful of club and national matches.

Born and raised in Barcelona, Yamal grew up in the ranks of La Masia, FC Barcelona’s youth academy. At the academy, he flourished and was soon viewed as one of the academy’s top prospects. Shortly after, Yamal was added to the FC Barcelona U19 team, and Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez quickly took notice of him. Xavi pulled Yamal up to train with the first team, and Yamal soon made his breakout debut.

On April 29, Yamal became the youngest player to appear for Barcelona’s first team at 15 years old. Yamal would go on to earn his first start for the club on August 20 in a 2-0 victory over La Liga club Cádiz CF, becoming the youngest starter for Barcelona in La Liga at just 16 years old.

What’s most impressive, however, is Yamal’s performance in the following match. After contributing towards two goals scored by Barcelona, Yamal was named man of the match (MOTM) in a 4-3 win against La Liga club Villareal. In addition, Yamal became the youngest player to supply an assist in a La Liga fixture. On Sept. 19, Yamal became the second youngest player to feature in the Champions League, football’s biggest stage.

On top of all of the club records Yamal has broken, he became the youngest player and goal scorer for Spain after debuting against Georgia in the 2024 Euros qualifiers. As a cherry on top, Yamal also became the youngest goalscorer in a Euro qualifying match.

Yamal has something that many other rising stars need. Of course, he’s unbelievably technical and possesses amazing dribbling, passing and shooting abilities. However, what sets him apart from others his age is his confidence. Yamal embodies the saying “Confidence is key” like none other. At just 16-years-old, the Spaniard plays freely and elegantly. Utilizing his gifts, he’s not afraid to take experienced defenders head-on. When he receives the ball, he is calm and composed and makes use of his options wisely. As a left-footed right winger, Yamal can cut inside and finish with his dominant foot, or he can drive outside and cross it in. The youngster exudes a level of skill and technicalities we haven’t seen from anybody his age since famous players like Messi or Ronaldo. However, Yamal might even have a higher ceiling than football stars before him.

Both Messi and Yamal grew up in the same youth academy, La Masia. Similarly, Messi got called up to the Barcelona first team at only 17 years old. However, Yamal debuted for the first team an entire year younger than Messi, and in addition, has already been named a MOTM before Messi would have even been called up to the first team. Like Messi, who was surrounded by legendary players like Ronaldhino Gaucho and Carles Puyol, Yamal can look up to veteran players like Robert Lewandowski or even manager Xavi, who was a Barcelona legend before he retired, for advice and assistance. In addition, as a player who represents the Spain national team, Yamal will again be surrounded by legends like Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets who can guide him in the right direction.

Yamal is in excellent hands, and I believe these conditions are perfect for Yamal’s career to explode. With some time, we will definitely be hearing more about Yamal in the near future.

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About the Contributors
Jeffery Zhang
Jeffery Zhang, Copy Editor
Jeffery Zhang, Class of 2026, is a second year reporter for WSPN. Jeffery plays soccer and tennis for WHS. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends. Contact: [email protected]
Reva Datar
Reva Datar, Opinion Editor
Reva Datar, Class of 2025, is a third year reporter and opinion editor for WSPN. She does Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and traveling with friends. Contact: [email protected]
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