Lamine Yamal goes viral after sensational performance against Villarreal

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

Barca nearly conceded twice early, but were saved by first a neat stop from Marc-Andre ter Stegen and then the offside flag, and they soon capitalised on their opponent’s inability to finish.

Yamal, the 16-year-old winger entrusted with his second straight start, provided an inch-perfect cross for Gavi, who nodded home at the far post. The second came just three minutes later, with Frenkie de Jong completing a fine team move.

But the home side weren’t so easily silenced. Villarreal responded on 26 minutes, Juan Foyth rising to meet Alex Baena’s corner with a bullet header. Alex Sorloth then found the equaliser shortly before half-time, peeling off unmarked at the far post to complete a smooth counter-attack.

Villarreal only improved after the break and added a third early in the second period, carving up a vulnerable defence – a sequence that finished with a curled effort from Baena.

Barca turned things around, though, as substitute Ferran Torres came off the bench to score in his second straight match before Robert Lewandowski then swung the contest back the other way, sealing a 4-3 win, with Yamal crucial in the build up.

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.”

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