Xavi does not want Barcelona wonderkid Lamine Yamal to be compared to club legend Lionel Messi, as he's already «playing at a brutal level».
WHAT HAPPENED? Barcelona recently rewarded the 16-year-old starlet for his incredible form in the ongoing 2023-24 season with a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2026. Barca also included a massive €1 billion (£866m/$1bn) release clause in his new deal.
Xavi has heaped praise on the teenager but remained cautious on comparisons being drawn with club legend Messi, as he feels that such correlations will only hamper the youngster's progress.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to reporters, the Barcelona manager said: «I hope Lamine can mark an era [in football], but we are not doing him any favours saying that. It's true the expectations are enormous and, aged 16, he is playing at a brutal level, which is hugely positive. But let's see what the future holds without comparing him with Messi. It's not gone that well for all the players that have been compared with Messi in the past.»
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Yamal has appeared in nine matches for the Catalan giants in all competitions and contributed two assists to their cause. During the international break in September, he became the youngest-ever debutant and goalscorer in the history of Spanish football when he netted his maiden international goal in La Roja's 7-1 win over Georgia in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.
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WHAT NEXT? Yamal could next be seen in action against Porto on Wednesday when Xavi's side face the Portuguese outfit in the Champions League.Read on goal.com