Lamine Yamal, Barcelona's teen prodigy

Times postOct 16, 20233
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15-year-old La Masia jewel Lamine Yamal made history on Saturday when handed his FC Barcelona first team debut by Xavi Hernandez. Yamal was introduced at the 83 minute mark during Barca's 4-0 La Liga win over Real Betis at Camp Nou. The main headlines belonged to big stars such as Raphinha, who notched a goal and assist, and midfielder Pedri, who was at his playmaking best after a recent 64-day absence brought about by suffering a hamstring knock against Manchester United in the Europa League. Xavi introduced Marcos Alonso and Ansu Fati approaching an hour's worth of play, but there were huge cheers from the fans behind the South Goal when the manager sent Yamal to warm up with Ousmane Dembele and

With two substitutes already used, there were three vacant spots for the trio as Dembele also awaited his first bit of action since becoming injured away at Girona in January. Finally on 83 minutes, after Dembele and Kessie came on 10 earlier, Yamal was brought on to a huge roar. He was applauded the first time he touched the ball, and almost scored a goal of his own before nearly providing a clever assist for Dembele.

Just by stepping onto the Camp Nou turf, the youth player immediately smashed Barca's youngest appearance maker record for the 21st century, which had been held by Armand Martinez Sagi since April 2, 1922.

Martinez Sagi was aged 15 years, 11 months and five days when he appeared in a 1-1 Copa del Rey draw against Real Gijon. But as Yamal doesn't turn 16 until July 13, he has overtaken him by some distance.Yamal has not broken the record for the youngest appearance maker in La Liga history, however, which has been held by Luka Romero since June 24, 2020. On this date, Romero, now playing at Lazio, featured for Mallorca at 15 years and 219 days old and therefore pips Yamal by a few months. Yamal's first team debut at such a young age shows how highly he is thought of by the club he has been with since he was 7, though. At present, one of the main priorities of president Joan Laporta is readying a new contract for the teen who becomes a free agent on June 30, 2024.

On the same day Yamal made his debut, SPORT reported that the details of the contract which could contain a €1 billion ($1.01 billion) release clause were being finalized.