He took a photo with Messi as a baby, and at 16 he broke Pele's records and eclipsed Kylian Mbappe: who is Lamin Yamal - the youngest participant in the Euro 2024 semi-finals

Juliette Morgan
He took a photo with Messi as a baby, and at 16 he broke Pele's records and eclipsed Kylian Mbappe: who is Lamin Yamal - the youngest participant in the Euro 2024 semi-finals

16-year-old Lamin Yamal is the youngest player in the Euro 2024 semi-finals and the star of the Spain vs. France match. In the match, he equalized the score and scored a goal against the French. As a result, Spain reached the final of the championship, and Yamal became the youngest scorer in the history of the European Championships, breaking the record of Johan Vonlanthen, as well as the youngest player to play in the semi-finals of an international national team tournament, breaking the record of Pele (the legendary footballer scored in the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1958 at the age of 17 years and 239 days).

"His fantastic counter-attack was crucial to Spain's comeback win. At such a young age, he works hard in defence, always threatens when receiving the ball and impresses with his positioning, linking up well with Jesus Navas on the right flank," UEFA said in a statement. It should be noted that the opposing team included one of the best footballers in the world, Kylian Mbappe. However, according to sports media, Yamal managed to "outshine Mbappe."

Ламин Ямаль на поле/Фото: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Ламин Ямаль на поле/Фото: Stu Forster/Getty Images

After the match, France midfielder Adrien Rabiot said that Yamal would have to do better than in previous matches if he wanted to play in the final. However, Spain head coach Luis de la Fuente defended his player. "Lamin did an exceptional job, he gave it his all. We had no doubts about him, but sometimes people express their opinions without having the necessary knowledge," he said.

Yamal himself was also delighted with his achievements on the field. "I am delighted that we will play in the final, but the most important things are yet to come. Today we had difficult moments. No one expected that we would concede so quickly. I was aiming for the very top corner, and when the ball flew in there, the surge of joy was indescribable," he said.

Now the Spanish national team will play the winner of the Netherlands-England match in Munich. The final game will be held on July 14, and the day before, Yamal will celebrate his birthday. The footballer has already told what gift he wants to receive the most. "I am very happy with reaching the Euro final. I would like to receive the cup as a birthday present."

By the way, during the championship itself, Lamin did not forget about his studies and did his homework between training sessions.

An interesting photo has recently gone viral on the Internet: a very small Yamal, who is being bathed in a bathtub by the famous football player Lionel Messi. The unusual shot was published by Yamal's father. The photo shoot was taken in 2007 and was intended for a charity project of Barcelona and Diario Sport: the photo was published in the 2008 calendar, and the proceeds were sent to charities in Catalonia and UNICEF. "This is the beginning of two legends," Yamal's father captioned the shot.

The shot was taken by photographer Joan Monfort. "It was a difficult photo. You could say I was sweating blood to take it. Messi is still shy. He was much more shy at the beginning of his career, and there he was with a tiny baby in a plastic tub full of water," the photographer recalled in an interview with The Athletic. "It's incredible. Back then, no one could have imagined who that baby would become. Or who Messi would eventually become."

Lamin Yamal plays for Barcelona and is considered one of the most promising footballers of his generation. Lamin studied at the Barcelona Academy and first appeared on the pitch last spring: he made his La Liga debut as a substitute in Barcelona's match against Real Betis. Already in the summer of that year, he had already achieved several achievements - for example, he became the youngest author of an assist (goal pass) in La Liga in the 21st century.

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