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Meet the Barça phenom compared to Messi who just earned a billion dollar release clause

Earlier this year, in April, Lamine Yamal became Barcelona and LaLiga's youngest-ever first team player when he donned Barça's jersey at just 15 years old. Then, last month, the teenager earned a similar honor for Spain when he took the field for the men's team and proceeded to not just make an appearance, but also score a goal – becoming his country's youngest-ever goal scorer at 16 years and 57 days old (beating Barcelona and Spain teammate Gavi's record of 17 years and 62 days old).

Now the youngster is joining Gavi in another illustrious club: players with a $1 billion release clause in their contract. Yamal inked a 3-year contract that ties him to the club until 2026, the maximum length deal Barcelona can sign with a player his age.

Yamal has moved fast through the ranks at Barcelona, becoming the club's youngest-ever starter against Cadiz in August at only 16 years and 38 days old. He has earned comparisons to a young Lionel Messi from head coach Xavi Hernandez, who praised Yamal for his one-on-one abilities and said, "You have to look for him. As with [Ousmane] Dembele, with Messi...we must get the ball to him. We have to make the most of it and give this type of player a boost."

Barcelona and Xavi are clearly excited about Yamal's potential with the club and intent to keep him there. "We will take care of him, pamper him and treat him as one more – even though he is 16 years old," said Xavi. "We will work with him...He will have first-team dynamics. We will take care of him and he can still be very important. He has a head, personality and talent."

So, who is this phenom who earned himself an eight-figure release clause similar to that of some of the biggest names in the game?

Who is Lamine Yamal?

Lamine Yamal, born on July 13, 2007 in Esplugues de Llobregat, Spain to parents Sheila Ebana and Mounir Nasraoui, from Equatorial Guinea and Morocco, respectively.

Raised in Spain, he was immersed in soccer from a young age. Lamine joined FC Barcelona's academy at just five years old and made rapid progress through its ranks. His talent caught the eye of many, leading to his early exposure with the first team, as well as with the youth national teams for Spain.

During the 2022-23 season, he made his Barcelona debut as the youngest ever player at 15 years, 9 months, and 16 days old, replacing Gavi late in the game and putting a shot on target against former Barça keeper Claudio Bravo. He went on that season to win his first title with Barcelona, a part of the squad that won the 2022-23 LaLiga trophy.

In August of this year, he earned his first start for the club, and was named man of the match in his second starting appearance after contributing to two goals scored by Gavi and Lewandowski. He was named U23 Player of the Month for August and went on to make his Champions League debut in September 2023, becoming the second youngest-ever player to appear in that competition behind only Youssoufa Moukoko of Dortmund and the German National Team.

To-date for Barcelona Yamal has played 10 official matches and 442 minutes. In October, he renewed his contract with Barça through June 30, 2026 with a release clause set at €1 billion ($1.05 billion).

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