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Former Spain forward says ‘not even Messi’ was as good as Lamine Yamal



Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Lamine Yamal stole the spotlight during Spain’s Euro 2024 opener against Croatia on Saturday evening.

As Spain secured a comfortable 3-0 victory, the focus was on Yamal, who became the youngest player to provide an assist in European Championship’s history.

Heading into the game, he also clinched the record of being the youngest to ever start in a Euro game.

Although Yamal was unable to find the back of the net against Croatia, his performance, which included an assist, raised the eyebrows of many footballing personalities across Europe.

Fernando Llorente heaps praise on Yamal

One of them was former Spain forward Fernandez Llorente, who went a step further by declaring Yamal a better player than Lionel Messi at his age.

“Not even Messi was at this level at that age. Lamine Yamal does extraordinary things. He can’t be compared to anyone,” he said (h/t Foot Mercato).

A stellar performance from Lamine Yamal vs Croatia (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Llorente’s statements come on the back of Yamal’s excellent 2023/24 campaign, with the forward notably enjoying a valuation increase of €90 million – more than any other player in the world.

At just 16, the winger was involved in 17 goals in all competitions, notably helping Barcelona secure second place in La Liga and reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

While Llorente’s comments on Yamal might seem a bit ludicrous to many, his observations are not ill-founded.

Indeed, Messi, despite his unbreakable record at Barcelona, hadn’t actually made an impact in senior football until he was 17. Yamal, in comparison, has made over 50 competitive appearances for Barcelona.

What Messi achieved afterwards, though, is what counts the most. And Barcelona fans will be having similar expectations from Yamal as well, as the young Spaniard looks to emulate the Argentine legend.

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