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FC Barcelona Coach Xavi Rejects Lamine Yamal Comparisons To Messi

FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez rejected comparisons between wonderkid Lamine Yamal and Lionel Messi following the former’s screamer against Mallorca on Friday.

Lamine scored the only goal of the game on 73 minutes to clinch a much-needed win in La Liga for the hosts at the Montjuic Stadium.

Post-match, charismatic Mallorca boss Javier Aguirre said that the 16-year-old reminded him of Lamine’s fellow La Masia academy graduate Lionel Messi.

Probed on this during his own media commitments, Xavi commented that even though he understood what Aguirre was getting at, he thinks the pair “should not be compared”.

“Anyone will lose when compared to Messi,” said the iconic number 10’s former colleague in the Barca team from 2004 to 2015.

“We’re talking about the best player in the history of this sport, he should not be compared to others.”

That being said, Xavi once again called Lamine a “differential” player or a difference maker.

“Today he wasn’t so good in the one-on-ones and he wasn’t having his best day, but he cut the ball back and scored a great goal. Therefore he made the difference again with a goal that he invented.”

Praise was also forthcoming for Lamine’s fellow teen sensation Pau Cubarsi at center back.

“If I have to define him with one word I would say hierarchical, tremendous. What he has done is spectacular, he is a very intelligent player. Especially with the hierarchy he plays with, he doesn’t look like he’s 17 years old,” Xavi beamed.

Xavi didn’t appreciate being grilled on the fact that the two best players on the pitch have a combined age of 33 and were the youngest in the Barca side.

“Let’s not look for negative aspects that do not exist. Lamine and Cubarsi are differentials and can mark an era, but the rest weren’t bad.

“[Andreas] Christensen played very well and [Joao] Cancelo competed wonderfully. Inigo [Martinez] defended very well and [Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is always key.

“I don’t see any negative aspect in the youngsters standing out,” Xavi insisted.

With improved morale following last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Athletic Club where Pedri and Frenkie de Jong suffered injuries, Barca will now try to embark on a winning streak against Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.

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