Lamine Yamal’s Historic Goal Highlights Spain’s Generational Talent

He can’t drink, smoke, drive, or vote, but Lamine Yamal Nasraoui Ebana can certainly kick a ball into the top corner on the biggest stage. The son of Sheila from Equatorial Guinea and Mounir from Morocco, Lamine was raised in Rocafonda, Mataró, postal code 08304. And forward he went, creating an eternal moment that propelled Spain to a final and marked the dawn of a new era.

On the eve of the semi-final, Adrien Rabiot warned that the fourth-year schoolboy, who arrived in Germany with homework and exams, needed to do “more” if Spain were to defeat France. Lamine did just that. He accomplished what no one had done to France in 525 minutes (scoring in play) and had done almost exactly the same against them a year ago in the U-17s. Lamine stepped inside, sent Rabiot chasing shadows, and fired a goal past Mike Maignan. The stadium erupted as he slid to his knees, celebrating the remarkable achievement.

“What Lamine is doing should be illegal,” his teammate Ferran Torres had remarked. Indeed, it was suggested that his performance might be restricted like drinking, smoking, and voting. There was speculation about German labor laws forbidding minors from working after 8pm, but sportsmen are a special case, allowed to play until 11pm. Spain’s coach, Luis de la Fuente, joked that he would take him off if necessary. There was no extra time, and Lamine Yamal walked off to a standing ovation three minutes from the end, having made history.

At 16 years and 362 days old, his goal made him the youngest player to score at a European Championship or World Cup, surpassing Pele by eight months. Pele, for God’s sake. With many years ahead, who else could he surpass?

Profile of Lamine Yamal His coach described him as “touched by God.” Forgotten images resurfaced this week from a 2007 calendar by the Catalan newspaper Sport, the Barcelona foundation, and Unicef, showing first-team players posing with local children. One image features a young Lionel Messi bathing a six-month-old Lamine Yamal. The photographer had no idea who the baby was until Lamine’s father posted it on Instagram. “The beginning of two legends,” wrote Mounir. In Munich, it seemed like destiny.

Who knows where Lamine Yamal might end up, but it’s likely to be somewhere special. Even Kylian Mbappé seemed to understand this, speaking calmly before kick-off. For now, he has set a record unlikely to be beaten and is heading to the final in Berlin the day after his 17th birthday. Even if he never plays again, he has already achieved what most players never do.

A few hours after Rabiot’s warning, Lamine quietly posted a message on Instagram: “Move quietly; speak only when it’s time to say checkmate.” This wasn’t checkmate yet, but it was close. Spain needed him. Trailing, under pressure, with Mbappé on the move, Spain looked to be in trouble. Then, with a left-footed shot, everything changed. Three minutes later, Dani Olmo scored another wonderful goal.

With nine minutes remaining, Lamine almost scored again, his brilliant shot going wide. He was subbed off at 22:50, ten minutes before the decisive moment, with the job done. As he walked off the pitch, the stadium rose to its feet in applause. Decades from now, fans will boast they were there the night Lamine Yamal arrived. He collapsed exhausted on the ground, hugged by his teammates, and then the final whistle blew. They had completed what the 16-year-old had started. Checkmate.

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