Bathed by Lionel Messi as a baby: Meet Lamine Yamal, Spain’s wonderkid at 2024 EURO

 Bathed by Lionel Messi as a baby: Meet Lamine Yamal, Spain’s wonderkid at 2024 EURO

Lamine Yamal‘s football career has experienced a remarkable surge over the past year. At just 15 years old, he showcased his exceptional skills at the U17 European Championships, where he played a crucial role in Spain’s 3-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland.

His impressive performance, which included a goal and an assist, hinted at his vast potential. Although Spain ultimately lost to France in the semi-finals, Yamal’s talent was undeniable, and he finished the tournament as the joint top-scorer.



Fast forward to the present, and Yamal has become the youngest player to feature in Euro 2024, bringing a fresh and enthusiastic energy to the tournament. His delightful smile and joyful approach to the game have captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

In Spain’s thrilling quarter-final victory over Germany, Yamal’s precise pass to Dani Olmo for the opening goal was his third assist of the tournament, equalling the Spanish record for most assists in a single European Championship, shared by Cesc Fabregas and David Silva.



Lamine Yamal was born in Barcelona in 2007 to a Moroccan father, Mounir, and an Equatorial Guinean mother, Sheila. He proudly showcases his heritage by having the flags of both countries sewn into his customized boots. Yamal grew up in Rocafonda, a residential area north-east of Barcelona, surrounded by a supportive family.

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His family’s enthusiasm was evident after his impressive goal in Munich, with his sister in tears and his mother embracing a relative. His uncle’s bakery even features a mural of Yamal celebrating with his signature gesture, representing the Rocafonda postcode. Yamal’s father, Mounir, 32, is highly involved in his life and football career, frequently sharing photos of Yamal’s achievements and their travels together on Instagram, living his dream through his son’s success.

He started playing football at the tender age of four for his local club, La Torreta. His exceptional talent was soon recognized, and by the age of seven, he was recruited by a scout from Barcelona’s renowned La Masia academy.

At La Masia, Yamal rapidly established himself as a prodigious talent, scoring an astonishing 56 goals in 30 matches in his second year.

His rapid progress at La Masia led to him joining Barcelona’s Juvenil A (U19) team at just 14, impressing then-head coach Xavi with his performances. Shortly after turning 15, Yamal began training with Barcelona’s first team and signed his first professional contract. Xavi was so impressed that he made Yamal the youngest player in a century to debut for Barcelona at 15 years and 290 days old, also becoming the youngest to feature in La Liga.

Yamal continued to break records, becoming the youngest to start a Champions League match and score a goal for Barcelona. Internationally, he represented Spain’s U15 team in February 2022, quickly progressing to the U19 team by October that year, having also played for the U16 and U17 teams during that period.

His progress has been meteoric, and he has become an integral part of Barcelona and Spain’s national team, bringing a new wave of excitement and promise to the football world.

Messi bathing Yamal for UNICEF campaign in 2007 Captured by Joan Monfort

 

Yamal’s outstanding performance at Euro 2024 has further solidified his reputation as a creative force to be reckoned with. He has consistently delivered high-quality scoring opportunities, with a tournament-high five big chances created, according to FotMob. Moreover, his impressive total of 14 chances created for Spain puts him in fourth place overall at the tournament, showcasing his exceptional skill and vision on the field.

Considering Lamine Yamal’s remarkable accomplishments at such a young age, it’s no surprise that a resurfaced photo from 2007 – taken by Joan Monfort – showing Lionel Messi bathing Yamal as a baby for a UNICEF campaign sparked claims from football fans that Messi’s gesture was a blessing that destined Yamal for greatness.

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