FC Barcelona-Naples: “Barça has a treasure”… Lamine Yamal, a destiny like Leo Messi or Ansu Fati?

 FC Barcelona-Naples: “Barça has a treasure”… Lamine Yamal, a destiny like Leo Messi or Ansu Fati?

 Led by the young 16-year-old Spanish nugget, the Catalans will try to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, this Tuesday (9 p.m.), against Naples

  the good thing, when you have talent, a lot of talent even, is that parental instructions can quickly become obsolete. Look at Lamine Yamal. At 16, the Barça winger must explain that, no, he will not be able to do his homework this evening. And for good reason, the kid from Rocafonda, a district of Barcelona, has a football match to play with the Blaugrana first team, against Naples, this Tuesday, in the eighth return of the Champions League. Since April 29, 2023, when he became the youngest player in history to wear the Catalan jersey (at 15 years and 290 days), Lamine Yamal has continued his rapid rise.

“A player who can mark an era”

So much so that, for several weeks, the young man of three nationalities (Spanish, Moroccan, Equatoguinean) has been steering the Barcelona ship alone, where he has made a string of starts (nine out of the last eleven matches), such as against Mallorca on Friday, where the teenager, with a superb curling shot, saved his team from another poor performance. “The point is not that he is the best at the moment, that he scores goals (6) or makes assists (7), it is that the entire Barça attack is oriented around a kid 16 years old, underlines Marcos Lopez, journalist at Periodico de Catalunya. He became the anchor of the attack. When things are bad, players give him the ball. »

Julen Guerrero, the former coach of the Spanish U17s with whom Lamine Yamal played Euro 2023, details for 20 Minutes:

Very quickly compared to Messi

We might as well tell you that on the side of Park Guell, where we have an unfortunate tendency, like in Madrid, to embellish everything that can make more than two passes forward, we have not skimped on the compliments lately: “Lamine de oro”, “Laminazo”, “Don’t get cold Lamine”, adorned the front pages of Mundo Deportivo and Sport after the gem against the Balearic Islands. We even dared to compare the winger to Leo Messi. “He is different, but there are indeed moments when he can resemble Messi,” replied Xavi, the Catalan coach at a press conference. He cuts into the axis, infiltrates the area and puts the ball in the top corner. We have the impression of finding Messi in him, but it is not a good thing to compare them. »

“He hides the big forest behind it, a bit like Messi during his last years at Barcelona,” continues Enzo Rinaldi, president of the Barça Lyon penya. But comparing him to Messi is not good, there are no two. Afterwards, to say that we perhaps have one of the best young people in the world with Mbappé and Haaland, that doesn't seem like a lie to me. » Joan Laporta believes it too. So much so that the president of Barça extended his nugget, now supported by the Death Eater Jorge Mendes, until 2026 (the maximum authorized for a minor) with a clause of one billion euros. Big deal.

The bad example Fati

 Finally, it’s on paper. Because other young Barça players, after dazzling debuts in the first team, also had billion-dollar departure clauses, like Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati. Extolled, we already imagined them dominating Europe in football for around twenty years. Today, Pedri has a string of injuries, Gavi will not play again this season, while Fati, who had even inherited Messi's No. 10, is dragging his spleen to Brighton. “He is raising certain hopes like Ansu Fati did at the time,” continues Marcos Lopez. It generates a wave of optimism in the club which is going through difficult times, with a sporting, economic and social crisis. Its hatching is a true blessing. So, yes, there are risks, with a possible trajectory like Ansu Fati, but for the moment, we only see the positive side. »

 At the risk of seeing an entire castle collapse at the slightest crack? Not so sure. Even if the kid keeps playing, Xavi and Barça seem to take care of their nugget. “They protect him like you protect a treasure, because that’s what Barça has in their hands,” says the journalist. Xavi handles this really well. He played him, rested him, didn't expose him too much as a starter at the start. Now, Lamine has made himself indispensable. Against Getafe [at the end of February], he rested him after eight starts in a row, because they were afraid of muscle injury. »

 According to the former coach, it will be also important that Lamine Yamal is well surrounded, and that “the club supports him and helps him in everything he may experience in the coming months, the coming years”. Because, obviously, at 16, in the spotlight, a gaggle of new friends try to join the player's entourage to pollute a career that has barely started.

 “Lamine is like any young person his age. And his behavior will be that of a 16-year-old teenager, adds Guerrero, who had excluded Yamal from a gathering for disciplinary problems. But he will start to change, and despite being 16 years old, he will have to behave and live like a professional. » And still find time to do your homework.





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