Xavi makes huge Lamine Yamal prediction after Villarreal victory


Head Coach Xavi Hernandez of FC Barcelona speaks to the media after the LaLiga EA Sports match between Villarreal CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio de la Ceramica on August 27, 2023 in Villarreal, Spain.

Barcelona manager Xavi has backed teenage sensation Lamine Yamal to “define an era” at Camp Nou after his dazzling display in Sunday’s 4-3 victory over Villarreal.

In what was just his second start for the club, 16-year-old Yamal produced a sensational performance for Barcelona, setting up the opening goal and playing an integral role in Robert Lewandowski’s eventual winner.

Barcelona fans have been rightly raving over Yamal for months now and Xavi admitted they are not alone in their excitement towards the teenager.

“Expectations are very high, and more because of what you can see,” he said after the Villarreal game. “In the end, he starts as a starter not because of the coach’s whim, but because we see him capable of making a difference.

“He is a distinctive player, he is smart, he chooses well and most importantly in football, the decision-making is almost always the correct one, which is the most important thing for a football player.

“He won’t have problems handling what comes his way. He’s a happy, humble guy who loves football. He does have competition, of course. I see him very prepared to play for the team.”

Yamal himself later admitted he has no problems with the pressure that comes with starting for Barcelona.

“I try to make the most of every opportunity, keep moving forward,” he explained. “Luckily, I don’t have fear. I try to forget about that and focus on playing football, which is what I enjoy and what I’m good at. I step onto the field, and my teammates help me a lot.”

Unfortunately for Barcelona, they could lose Yamal for around a month this winter if he is called up for Spain’s squad for the Under-17 World Cup, which runs from 10 November until 2 December.

“It is a personal decision [whether Yamal goes to the tournament],” Xavi said. “I would like him to be in our football, in Spanish football and with Spain, but it is already a personal decision of his. He has not said anything to me, in all honesty, with what he is going to do.

“What I do hope is that he spends many years here, because he is a footballer to define an era.”

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