Lamine Yamal has been called up to the Spain national team for the first time.
If selected in the European Championship qualifiers later this month, the 16-year-old will become Spain’s youngest-ever international player.
Yamal has started Barcelona’s last two games, starring in the 4-3 win over Villarreal on Sunday.
Spain play Georgia on Friday before hosting Cyprus on Tuesday.
Yamal’s Barcelona team-mate Gavi is Spain’s youngest-ever player, he made his debut aged 17 years and 62 days against Italy in October 2021.
If he plays in Spain’s qualifier against Georgia next week, Yamal will be 16 years, 1 month and 26 days old.
Yamal shines again for Barcelona as Xavi turns to ‘fearless’ 16-year-old in attack
Was Yamal’s call-up expected?
Here we are, 16-year-old Lamine Yamal has been called up by Spain’s national team. This move was expected after Spanish Football Federation executives rushed to meet Yamal and his camp last week in Barcelona in order to make sure his mind was set on representing the country of his birth. Yamal’s dad is from Morocco, and the winger is also eligible for the African country.
I have no doubts on Yamal being able not just to perform, but to deliver and make the difference for Spain right now. He could slot into the starting line-up and no one would guess he is only 16. Is it good, though, for him and his development to deal with the spotlight of the national team? Well, that’s another story.
It’s crystal clear that the main reason for his call-up is Spain’s move to retain an exceptional talent such as his. They just can’t afford to lose him, and if that involves calling him up at the age of 16, this is a price they will pay.
(Photo: Eric Alonso/Getty Images)