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Lamine Yamal is a special talent. But the comparison with Messi is unfair, both for El Pulga and the young player himself!

If Lamine Yamal’s potential is the reason why the media and fans excitedly compare him to Lionel Messi, then in the not too distant past, there was a photo that was enough to make them… lose interest.

Just 5 years ago, the small boy Yamal – wearing a gray Nike hoodie, with pants printed with the… Tottenham logo – was covered in sweat, posing next to a smiling Messi. That’s not the look of a future star, or more importantly, not a young player confident enough to succeed his idol.

Initially when it was first “dug up”, this photo was hyped as evidence of the “first connection” or a visual symbol of “greatness meets greatness”. But when all the excitement is gone, only the real value remains: It simply provides further evidence of one of the biggest problems in modern football – Barcelona and the sport remains constant. looking for his “next Messi”.

Yamal is simply the latest candidate – a left-footed right winger, prized for his dribbling ability and finesse. His low center of gravity and smooth “step” also make him difficult to tackle; while his keen eye for crisp passes in the final third makes him a creative threat. But let’s be honest: This all sounds very familiar, right?

Where does the hype come from?

Xavi clearly saw something in Yamal from the start of last season. It is completely normal to bring La Masia’s best products into the first team’s training sessions. But it is worth mentioning that the Barca head coach guaranteed a special position next to the seniors for Yamal. Just like that, by September 2022, Yamal had a regular, daily training spot alongside Raphinha or Robert Lewandowski, and only spent weekends returning to play for Barca’s U19 team. At that time, he was only 15 years old!

Of course, the reviews of the first performance were generous. MARCA newspaper described Yamal’s debut as “brilliant”, and Xavi said he could “mark a new era” at Camp Nou.

Then, Yamal scored again in his La Roja debut. Then a few weeks later, he agreed to the terms of a professional contract, with a release worth up to 1 billion euros (the maximum allowed in Spanish football). Having come here, there is no doubt that the “legend” of a “Little Messi” has officially begun!

Stop name inflation

We cannot list all the players who have been called “Little Messi” over the past 20 years, but we can affirm one thing in common: They all failed to reach unprecedented standards in football. El Pulga. Even right now, when Lamine Yamal is only 16 years old, it would not be unreasonable to make an assumption that he will not be able to reach the end on the journey to succeed his senior. With all those demands, with all those qualities, chasing Messi is unthinkable. Ansu Fati – the “Little Messi” closest to Yamal, fell headlong, despite having the unprecedented advantage of inheriting El Pulga’s shirt number.

But pessimism for Yamal’s newly opened future is not today’s topic. Very good news for his family, friends and fans: Most likely from now on, the journey similar to Messi will end!

Please don’t be “Little Messi”

In fact, if you ignore the comparison, if you just want to get inspiration, Yamal can refer to the case quite close to him, his senior Bukayo Saka!

Indeed, although he also holds the ball excellently and has a real eye for goals, Yamal is not an outstanding striker like Messi. And the England national team player is not a pure winger… Instead, Saka does many different things that help him become famous such as dribbling without “touching” the ball, taking advantage of cutting lanes. sharp and smart turns to create corners.

Looking closely at the numbers or Saka’s impact, Yamal can also recognize the outstanding success of his senior: The 22-year-old player has contributed 50 goals in the Premier League alone since the beginning of the 2021-22 season, also like averaging a goal and an assist every 100 minutes. Perhaps, Barca would receive fewer complaints if they had the “next Saka” in the squad.

But remember, Yamal is at a much younger age. He also needs to be managed properly with the right number of minutes on the field instead of cramming it – which is extremely necessary and minimizes the risks (of being overwhelmed, stagnant or injured) in the development process of a young player. not-Messi.

At this point, we need to immediately conclude that Yamal is definitely not an excellent player equal to or better than Messi. Nor can a person be noticeably worse off. Rather, he is a great talent who wants and needs to be allowed to “cultivate” his own path – a path that will put him on the right path to becoming a world-class player.

That could very well be the first person to solve the “Little Messi” curse that has shadowed the careers of Bojan Krkic, Giovani Dos Santos, Munir El Haddadi, Riqui Puig or most recently Asu Fati.

A rough prediction is that Yamal will probably play a maximum of 40 matches this season – quite a far cry from the 62 matches that Saka had last season, and the 60 matches that Pedri played in his first season with Barca. .

What does that reality bring? Simply put, when tired, Yamal can sit on the bench. When lacking stamina and inspiration, Yamal can be rested. And a slightly unusual Yamal can also be shielded from the spotlight.

It is a talent that has the necessary and appropriate conditions to develop. That talent is not “Little Messi”.

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