The New Messi moniker has long lost its weight in the world of football, simply because it is being stuck left and right on all sorts of dubious talents. Or if we have to be precise – for the last 12 years, as many as 175 footballers have been baptized like that by the media, according to a study by the Catalan publication Sport.
And they all turned out to be light years away from the Argentinian star, including Kazakhstan’s Messi (real name Erkebulan Seydakhmet), who spent several months in his native Levski. That’s why nowadays when someone hears that a certain player is the New Messi, they approach it with easily explainable doubt.
But not this time.
The star of 15-year-old Lamin Yamal is rising on the football horizon, who is an exact copy of the original. With the small difference that he is a Spanish national with Moroccan roots.
Yamal was born for football at Barca’s La Masia school – just like the original. And even at 5 years old, he is ripe for the New Messi. In this case, however, the nickname did not come from the sensational media, but from his coaches at Barca, as well as the management of Spain’s La Liga.
The parallels between the two are startling. Lamine Yamal is a striking resemblance to Leo in terms of playing style. He can act equally successfully in any attacking position he possesses phenomenal dribbling and fantasy football.
He stands out from his peers in every youth selection of Barca, and clips of his appearances are constantly playing on the club’s channels.
However, the big news for Yamal came this week when he was invited by Shavi to training with the men’s team.
“I called him because he has the necessary qualities. To be honest, I’m in love with his style of play and the way he treats the ball,” succinctly explained the Barca coach, who is clearly preparing the youngster for a debut at the highest level level.
And while that happened, Yamal recorded his first minutes in the youth Champions League, becoming the youngest footballer to carry Barcelona’s team in European tournaments. Indeed a remarkable achievementbehind which hides a colossal amount of talent, but also really a lot of work.
And yet – who really is Lamin Yamal?
In addition to recently being a teammate with the Bulgarian talent Martin Georgiev, who moved to Barcelona from Slavia, the Moroccan has long enjoyed enviable media attention.
His parents are emigrants who enrolled Yamal in the Barça school when he was only 5 years old. With the sole purpose of him becoming the new star of the Catalans. Because of his magnificent qualities, he was transferred 3 sets up.
So when he was 10, he was already competing with the 13-year-olds, and with great success. Even then, the biggest sports daily in Catalonia, “Mundo Deportivo”, devoted a serious amount of material to him.
The fact is pointed out that Lamal he only thinks about football, is totally obsessed with the game. The youngster tells how he wakes up and goes to sleep thinking about the ball, while dreaming of Camp Nou chanting his name. Something that is becoming more and more likely to come true.
Of course, it’s no surprise that, like any La Masia kid, Lamal points to Leo Messi as his idol. With the huge difference that he has a very real chance to follow in the footsteps of the Argentine superstar.
The young man has some conversations and pictures with Messi, but talks with particular excitement about their last meeting. It comes a few weeks before Leo’s painful break with Barca and his move to PSG.
By this time, Yamal already bears the heavy nickname of the New Messi and receives valuable advice on how to handle the responsibility.
“Lionel told me not to worry about being compared to him. He advised me not to copy his style of play but to create my own. To have fun on the pitch and give my best every second.” , says Lamin, who is still having a hard time getting used to the huge responsibility.
In “La Masia” he does not receive special attention from the others, but it is a fact that the club tries to preserve his psyche. There is a strict media contact policy that is gentle on the player and is aimed at not believing too early that he is a superstar.
And temptations lurk from every corner. Because La Liga’s official channel was quick to announce Lamin as the greatest talent in Spanish football, although he has yet to record a single official minute in the championship. However, the Barca offices are already receiving inquiries about his price, but a transfer is out of the question.
The reason is clear. A player who everyone compares to Messi should not be left out. Because, who knows – in years to come someone will be talked about as the New Yamal…