“No one’s ever done this stuff” – Gary Lineker Claims Spain & Barcelona Star Lamine Yamal Could Be The Next Lionel Messi

Yamal Could Be The Next Messi
Yamal Could Be The Next Messi

Former England international Gary Lineker has heaped praise on Spain and Barcelona attacker Lamine Yamal, claiming not even the legendary Lionel Messi was as exceptional at his age. His comments came after Yamal delivered a Man of the Match performance to send La Roja to the 2024 European Championship (EURO 2024) final.

Lamine Yamal Has Been A Revelation In EURO 2024

La Masia graduate Yamal caught everyone’s attention with his performances for Barcelona in the 2023-24 season, scoring five goals and claiming eight assists in 37 La Liga matches. His sensational form for the Blaugrana earned him a place in Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squad for EURO 2024, allowing him to become a beacon of brilliance for his country as well.

Yamal has featured in all six of Spain’s EURO 2024 games this summer, chipping in with a goal and three assists. Yamal scored his first EURO goal in Spain’s 2-1 win over France in the semi-finals.  He picked up the ball around 30 yards away from the French goal, opened up a bit of space, and found the top-left corner of the goal with a left-footed curler. With the goal, Yamal became the youngest-ever goalscorer in a major international competition.

Gary Lineker Claims Lamine Yamal Could Be The Next Lionel Messi

Understandably, Yamal’s sensational performances have invited comparisons with La Masia hero Messi. On his The Rest is Football podcast, Lineker lauded Yamal’s path-breaking performances, claiming he could go on to be as great as Messi, Pele, or Diego Maradona.

The Englishman commented:

We don’t want to get carried away but, boy oh boy, no one’s ever done this stuff. Even Messi was later.

I’m not saying he’s going to be a Messi or Maradona, but he could be. To do what he’s doing at this age, and he’s so calm. His decision-making and the goal, no one’s ever done that.

He added:

Pele scored two goals in a World Cup final, he was 17, nearly 18. This kid’s 16, nearly 17. You don’t want to go too overboard, you’ve got to be careful with these things.

He’s [Yamal] the best 16-year-old I’ve ever seen. Rooney came into things [at 16] and scored a similar kind of goal [against Arsenal in 2002]. This was in the semi-final of the European Championship! I just can’t get my head around his football intelligence and the fact he’s still at school. It’s mind-blowing but also beautiful.”

Argentina icon Messi shone in his FIFA World Cup debut in 2006. However, unlike Yamal for Spain, the then-18-year-old was not La Albiceleste’s key man in the tournament. He played three of Argentina’s five games, scoring once and providing an assist. Messi spent the other two games on the bench and only started one of the three games he played in.

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