Barcelona starlet Yamal, 16, has chance to break more records with Spain


Barca starlet Yamal, 16, has chance to break more records with Spain

At just 16 years old, young Spanish winger Lamine Yamal hit another milestone Friday when he was called up to the senior national team for the first time.

Yamal could become Spain's youngest ever player in the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Cyprus.

If coach Luis de la Fuente calls on the teenager in the games on September 8 and 12 respectively, he would break the record of his Barcelona team-mate Gavi.

The midfielder became the youngest player to play for Spain during a Nations League semi-final win over Italy at the age of 17 years and 62 days, in October 2021.

Gavi broke the record set in 1936 by Angel Zubieta Redondo, who wore the shirt at the age of 17 years and 284 days in a friendly.

The baton can now be picked up by Yamal, who may add a new record to a growing collection, which began when he became the youngest ever Barca debutant in La Liga, against Real Betis in April at 15 years and 9 months old.

"I'm very happy to be able to get this record, but I hope I can break more," the young left-footed player, who can play in all three attacking positions, told the club website at the time.

Four months on Yamal is shining at Barca, where the departure of Ousmane Dembele to Paris Saint-Germain and Raphinha's two-match suspension gave him a big chance to impress.

He became La Liga's youngest ever starter in the 21st century against Cadiz, and then faced Villarreal, where he was the man of the match.

At the Estadio de la Ceramica last Sunday, Yamal's vibrant performance earned him a standing ovation when he was replaced by Ansu Fati.

"Luckily I play without fear, I try to forget about that and just play football, which is what I'm good at," Yamal told Movistar.

"My mother is a bit afraid when I play as a starter, but she supports me a lot."

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez said he believed in Yamal as a player who can shine at the club over many years to come.

"He's a player who makes the difference, smart, the decision he takes is almost always correct and good," said Xavi.

"That's the best thing about him, at 16 -- he's not starting just on a whim."

Xavi quickly started to follow the youngster's progress in the club's youth ranks when he arrived in 2021 as coach, according to reports.

Born in Catalonia to a Moroccan father and an Equatorial Guinean mother, Yamal joined Barca at the age of seven, and was called up to the first team before even making an appearance for the reserve team.

A quick, skilful and explosive player, Lamal has also been a permanent fixture in Spain's own youth set-up and now has the opportunity to continue making his mark with the senior national team.
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