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Who is the youngest goal scorer in Euro football history, Lamine Yamal?

From Barcelona to the Spanish national team, the ultra talented teen has been breaking records and making history at the 2024 Euros
  • Even among the hotly rated youngsters who have been first-team success in recent years, Yamal is a standout player

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UPDATED: 15 Jul 2024, 2:44 pm

Lamine Yamal has taken his place on football’s global stage in spectacular fashion. The Barcelona and Spanish national team winger, described as soccer’s “next superstar” became the youngest goal scorer in Euro or World Cup history last night, rocketing in the first goal in Spain’s 2-1 semi final victory over France.

Football is fast-evolving and many players below the age of 20 have been breaking through to first teams in recent years. But few of Yamal’s age have been starting in as many games as he has. 

During a press conference before Spain’s quarter-final match against Germany, his Barcelona teammate and German captain İlkay Gündoğan spoke about Yamal saying “Lamine is extremely advanced for his age. The way he played last season was incomparable. When I look at where I was at 16… it shows that this new generation is taking on a lot of responsibility. He’s a very important player for the Spanish national team and for Barca in the years and decades to come.”

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Playing for Barcelona and coming through the ranks of La Masia, Yamal has also been compared to the club legend Lionel Messi. The Argentinian also made his debut with the Catalonian side at age 16. The rest is history. 

A viral photo from December 2007 of Yamal, who was still a baby, and a young Messi resurfaced. The image was said to be for the “2008 charity calendar organised by Barcelona’s club foundation and Catalan newspaper Diario Sport,” according to The Athletic. Who knew Yamal would be in a Barcelona kit 17 years later?

In last night’s game victory over France, Yamal had a stunning opportunity to shine – even as he studies for school at the same time. Here’s all you need to know about the young sensation of Euro 2024.

What is Lamine Yamal’s background? 

Lamine Yamal celebrating an own goal by Italy during the group stages of the UEFA Euro 2024 on 20 June 2024
Lamine Yamal celebrating an own goal by Italy during the group stages of the UEFA Euro 2024 on 20 June 2024 – Photo by Xinhua/Peng Ziyang

Yamal was born on 13 July 2007 to a Moroccan father and a mother from Equatorial Guinea. He was brought up in Esplugues de Llobregat in Spain, before moving to Barcelona in 2014 after joining the Catalonian side’s youth team.

His coach Ivan Carrasco told BBC “He will do things we cannot yet imagine,” adding “As a coach, you sometimes thought, ‘What can I teach him if he does things that I can’t even imagine from the bench?’ 

Yamal shone at La Masia – Barcelona’s youth team – since age seven. In 2022, Barcelona head coach Xavi decided to call the player to train with the first team. After being impressed in training, Xavi gave him his debut in April 2023 against Real Betis (see below). Six months later, the club announced that the player signed a new contract that runs until 30 June 2026. Barca added a release clause of 1 billion Euros – a sign of the enormous esteem in which Yamal is already being held.

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During his time at La Masia, Yamal started to gain the attention of the Moroccan Football Federation, but in an interview with Spain’s football federation, Yamal said “I have always played for Spain, since the under-15s. I have always been clear, I want to play for Spain. Win a European Championship, a World Cup, and everything that is possible.”

What can’t this 16-year-old footballer do? Yamal already has the world at his feet and is only just getting started.

How many records has Lamine Yamal already broken?

Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal defending against Mika Marmol of Las Palmas during a La Liga match on 30 March 2024
Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal defending against Mika Marmol of Las Palmas during a La Liga match on 30 March 2024 – Photo by Xinhua/Joan Gosa

As a young starter, Yamal has already broken multiple records.

Former Barca legend and manager at the time, Xavier Hernández, handed Yamal his professional debut with the club in April 2023 against Real Betis. Yamal was just 16 years and 38 days old. 

Not long after, he became “the youngest player to provide an assist” in La Liga in a 3-4 win against Villareal. Yamal then went on to win multiple “youngest” records. From Champions League debutant, providing assists and goals too, to the youngest to make 50 appearances for his club. 

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For the Spain national team, he also became the youngest-ever debutant at just 16 years and 57 days. And now he is football’s youngest Euro or World Cup goal scorer.

Last week during an interview with the Guardian, Spanish and club teammate Ferran Torres said “He should be banned. What this kid is doing at 16 years of age!”

UPDATED: 15 Jul 2024, 2:44 pm

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