Meet Lamine Yamal, the 15-year-old Barcelona wonderkid who became the youngest player to play for the club this century | The Sun

IN a flash, Lamine Yamal sniffed an opportunity to make further history.

The 15-year-old had just been given a rousing reception by the Nou Camp faithful as he entered the pitch against Real Betis with the home team 4-0 up.

But that wasn't enough.

As he came off the bench to become the youngest player this century to play for Barcelona manager Xavi would have whispered in the wonderkid's ear that there was no pressure.

However Yamal wanted to make a splash and the teenager forced a save from keeper Rui Silva, after racing onto a mistake from a Betis defender – showing his rapid speed in an instant.

He could have had a brilliant assist too, if his team-mate had finished their chance.

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At the final whistle, his coach's words echoed what the fans saw.

"I told him to try things and he did," Xavi said. "At 15 years old, just imagine it… He is special and he could have even scored tonight, but [Betis goalkeeper Rui Silva] saved.

"He played with confidence and he showed what he is about. He has no fear and bags of talent. Some of his passes in the final third were really good."

Barcelona is in his blood

Born to a Moroccan father and Guinean mother, Yamal grew up in the Barcelona suburb Mataro.

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He was scouted by La Masia talent spotters at the age of just five.

Such was his talent early on, he would play for three age groups as his development was carefully managed.

The winger progressed through the ranks – standing out for the U16 side aged just 13.

He tore through the youth league with ease, with the club very aware of the unique talent they had on their hands.

Last year, he skipped an entire age group to play for the U19 side, where he continued to blossom.

"He is always asking questions, he has a very good predisposition to evolve. You have to treat him calmly and not rush," his coach Oscar Lopez revealed.

By that point, Xavi deemed him good enough to train with the first team squad – integrating the generational talent into his sessions.

Unfortunate comparisons

Hype is a dangerous thing in football. The expectation and pressure has hindered many a promising player.

But, there is a very strong belief Yamal can emulate their greatest ever player, Lionel Messi.

Both started off on the wing and both have that ability to cut inside and fashion an opportunity out of nothing with their stronger left-foot.

Xavi is not holding back on the kid's qualities.

"He's a similar player because he has that innate talent in the final third which is difficult to find," the Spain World Cup winner revealed when asked about the Messi comparisons.

"Lamine doesn't seem like a 15-year-old, he's very mature. He's ready [to play] and he is training well. He can mark an era at this club as part of this team."

Coming from a player that played with the Argentina World Cup winner, that has to be believed.

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Expect to hear a lot more about Yamal as he continues to progress in the game.

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