Move on from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Lamine Yamal is here to give sleepless nights | Football News

Move on from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Lamine Yamal is here to give sleepless nights | Football News

Seems like world football has at last found its new hero. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, not potent forces anymore, are in the twilight of their career and the football fraternity terribly needs a superstar of their magnitude. Spain’s teen sensation Lamine Yamal appears on the path to stardom and loads of success.

Lamine Yamal clicks a selfie with his award(AP)
Lamine Yamal clicks a selfie with his award(AP)

Spain and France featured in a classic on Tuesday night. La Roja went into the Euros semifinal as overwhelming favourites but when France scored through Randal Kolo Muani – assist provided by Kylian Mbappe — in the eighth minute of the match at the Allianz Arena in Munich, things started looking a bit ominous for the three-time Euros champions.

But not for nothing have people been calling them the most complete team of the tournament. Spain responded thirteen minutes later, and Yamal was at the centre of it. The 16-year-old winger took the entire French defence aback, unleashing a left footer from way outside the box that smashed the far post first before going in.

France looked as though they had no inkling of something like that happening. A team that had conceded just one goal in their previous five matches of the tournament, looked hopeless at the feet of Yamal.

It won’t be wrong to say that the quality of the goal rattled them, taking the wind totally out their sails because just four minutes later Dani Olmo scored — his third successive goal in the knockouts, — to put La Roja ahead 2-1. The Spanish dominated the rest of the game even though they couldn’t score another.

Yamal has been outstanding all through. He has contributed in one way or the other. While against France, it was his first goal of the tournament – mind you, in the process he became the youngest ever to score at the Euros at 16 years and 362 days – in the previous matches he had provided three assists, one each against Croatia, Georgia and Germany. Two of these came in the knockouts against the latter two.

Fans will remember it was Yamal’s assist to Olmo that had put Germany behind in the quarterfinals. In what was a massive heartbreak for home fans, Germany were eventually overcome 2-1 in extra time. Before that, in the 4-1 rout of Georgia, Yamal had fed Fabian Ruiz too.

Frankly speaking, leading into the tournament Yamal was expected to do wonders. The Barcelona boy had a solid season with the Catalans in 2023-24 after making his La Liga debut at the fag end of the season before.

The kind of upbringing he had had, he had to become a special player. Only the geniuses last through tough times! Yamal comes from the neighbourhood Rocafonda 304, one of the poorest areas in Spain, which also explains his famous 304 celebration.

TV journalist Jaume Marcet who knows the ins and outs of Barcelona’s La Masia academy — where Yamal learnt the tricks of the trade – had always known that the winger, born to a Moroccan father and mother from Equatorial Guinea, was a special player. There was a day on the football pitch when Yamal appeared to leave even the famous Barcelona man of recent times behind, yes World Cup winner Messi. “The most brutal display I have seen in grassroots football was from Lamine in the final of the Catalunya cadet tournament. I had seen Messi perform brutally, but never something like what Lamine did that match, with kids older than him. That day he did everything,” Marcet said much before Yamal’s heroics last night.

Right now, there are quite a few promising young footballers on the circuit, like Jude Bellingham, Endrick and Estevao Willian who are labelled the future stars of world football but on current evidence, Yamal appears to be a cut above the rest. His arrival has enriched the game, no two ways about it! Thanks to him, Spain’s Euros claims look the strongest.

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