Lamine Yamal, the youngest player to ever play for FC Barcelona in La Liga, has now made his official debut for the club at the age of 16 years and 38 days.
When he made his official debut in Sunday’s match against Cádiz CF, Yamal also became the youngest player to start in La Liga in the 21st century.
“I think he’s very mature and can make the difference for us,” Barça head coach Xavi told reporters after the game. “We have to take care of him, but I think he’s ready and I don’t mind believing in youth.”
To end Yamal’s historic start, Barça scored two late goals to seal a 2-0 win over Cádiz to claim their first win of the 2023-24 La Liga season.
Although not at their peak, Xavi’s side still found a way to win when youngster Pedri opened the scoring in the 82nd minute before Ferran Torres doubled Barça’s lead with a stoppage-time strike.
“It looked like the ball wouldn’t go in today but it happened,” Xavi told Movistar Plus.
“We expected it to be a day with a lot of possession and in the second half we were more patient, picked better positions, took risks and passed the ball from the far corner. [İlkay] Gundoğan to Pedri gave us what we needed.”
Winning is paramount for Barça after the La Liga champions struggled in their season opener against Getafe CF.
Barça drew 0-0 in their opening match of the season with 10 men left after Raphinha was sent off in the first half.
However, the Brazilian’s dismissal gave Yamal the chance to start and the teen proved to be the spark in Barça’s win on Sunday.
Last season, aged 15 years, 9 months and 16 days, Yamal made his Barça debut after coming on as a substitute for Gavi in a 4-0 win over Real Betis in April.
According to Reuters, Real Mallorca striker Luka Romero, currently playing for AC Milan, is the youngest player to make his La Liga debut.
Aged 15 years and 229 days, Romero came on as a substitute in Mallorca’s 0-2 loss to Real Madrid in June 2020 to break the long-standing La Liga record held by former Celta Vigo player Francisco Bao Rodríguez – commonly known as Sanson – hold. who made his debut in the tournament in 1939 at the age of 15 years and 255 days.