Lamine Yamal has achieved the distinction of being the youngest player to start a La Liga match in the 21st century, and he didn’t fail to impress as he delivered a remarkable performance against Cadiz.
At just 16 years old, Yamal showcased his exceptional talent during a 2-0 victory, exhibiting his skills by consistently outplaying his opponents and delivering the ball into dangerous areas.
After a goalless draw in their opening La Liga match against Getafe, Barcelona was determined to secure a win. In their first home game of the season, the Catalan giants encountered difficulties as the match remained deadlocked at 0-0 for the majority of the game.
However, the situation changed in the final 10 minutes when Pedri found the back of the net, securing Barcelona’s first league goal of the season.
The absence of Raphinha due to his previous red card created a vacancy in the starting lineup. Lamine Yamal stepped in and occupied the right wing position in Raphinha’s absence.
In the recent match, former Manchester City winger Ferran Torres managed to score a goal during the fourth minute of added time, sealing the victory and securing all three points for the team.
Xavi is not afraid to give young players a chance, as the Spanish manager highlighted in his post-match press conference as he said, perForbes: “We see him train, he does a good job, and he can make a difference.”
Who is Barcelona starlet Lamine Yamal?
The youngster was brought up through the famous ‘La Masia’ youth system that is well known for developing talents such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi – the current manager.
The most recent cases of players graduating from the club’s youth setup come in the form of Pedri and Gavi, who are now household names within the global game.
Born in July 2007, Yamal has only recently turned 16, and is already a firm option within Xavi’s plans moving forward based on recent evidence.
The teenager became the youngest player to ever appear in a league game for Barcelona back in April when his manager brought him on as a late substitute in a 4-0 win over Real Betis.
Following that game, Xavi was full of praise for the young man as he went on to say, per theDaily Mail: “I told him to try things and he did. At 15 years old, just imagine it… He is special and could have even scored tonight.”
That was not all the Spaniard said either, as he continued: “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.”
The confidence and lack of fear were more than apparent in the recent game against Cadiz as Yamal was full of energy and did not look like backing down from a challenge.
Lamine Yamal stars in full debut for Barcelona
Yamal’s highlights reel from the Cadiz match show he has a huge future ahead of him with his play style reminiscent of a Premier League star.
The way in which the 16-year-old was more than happy to be direct and run at any player in front of him was very similar to Bukayo Saka of Arsenal.
Not only can Yamal cut inside onto his stronger left foot in order to pick a pass or get a cross delivered into the area, he is more than capable of getting to the byline to cross into the penalty area.
His pace and fast feet make it very difficult for an opposing defender to stick a foot in, especially as they are backing into their own penalty box with the risk of conceding a dangerous foul growing with every step.
In the first half, the young player had the opportunity to secure a goal and an assist. However, his efforts were thwarted due to a lack of composure from his teammate who failed to capitalize on a precise delivery. Additionally, Yamal’s left-footed shot was skillfully deflected around the post by the opposing goalkeeper, further denying him a potential goal.
When he found himself in a one-on-one situation in the inside right channel, Yamal executed his move flawlessly by directing the ball towards the bottom corner of the net. Despite the goalkeeper’s full-stretch effort, he managed to tip the shot wide of the post.
Throughout the second half, Yamal continued to exhibit direct dribbling skills that caused significant issues for Cadiz’s defensive line. He made a strong attempt with his left foot that was once again thwarted by the goalkeeper after evading his marker with relative ease.
Yamal’s gameplay is characterized by both the speed of his footwork and the swiftness of his decision-making. He seems to possess an innate understanding of his surroundings and the optimal course of action, even before executing a move.
Beyond his impressive dribbling ability, the Spanish Under-19 international demonstrates a willingness to make effective passes to his teammates when it’s a better option. This sets him apart from others who might tend to overindulge in individual play rather than involving their teammates.
VIDEO: Lamine Yamal highlights vs Cadix
Lamine Yamal vs Cadix
16 years old. 💎pic.twitter.com/TX2kylA7hc
— Matolisso (@Matolisso) August 20, 2023
This shows a maturity in his game that is very rare for a player at his age, and if managed well, could be promising for Barcelona’s future.
An impressive full debut for the club came to an end after 85 minutes, with his side holding a one-goal advantage as he exited the field of play to a standing ovation. It is likely he will be in contention for a start in the next game against Villarreal.