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Lamine Yamal talks Nico Williams, Xavi, Hansi Flick, Spain, Euros, Olympics

Lamine Yamal talks Nico Williams, Xavi, Hansi Flick, Spain, Euros, Olympics

As the world gears up for the European Championships later this month, the Spanish National team enjoyed significant representation from Barcelona, particularly La Masia.

Despite the last-minute and unexpected exclusion of Pau Cubarsi from Luis de Las Fuente’s squad, La Roja have some of Barcelona’s best talents on display. Lamine Yamal, needless to say, headlines the list.

At just 16 years of age, the Spanish winger broke records for fun during the season and has also established himself as one of the best attackers for his National Team.

Speaking in a recent interview, the phenom gave his thoughts on a number of topics related to both club and country.

On Nico Williams

The Spanish winger began his interview by speaking extensively about Athletic Club winger and Barcelona target Nico Williams and his camaraderie with his compatriot.

“I have a better time when I play with Nico.”

“We started from the first call-up. I got along very well with him and Balde,” he added.

Yamal was then asked to specifically comment on a possible transfer for Nico to Barcelona, to which he replied: “Yes, I think we play well together. But this question is more for him.”

Yamal wouild like to play with Nico at Barcelona. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Yamal wouild like to play with Nico at Barcelona. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

“We don’t talk [about a move to Barcelona] much. We try to have a good time because in the end we only see each other in the national team,” he added.

On being with the national team at a young age

At just 16 years old, it is almost incredible that Yamal is already a bonafide starter not only at the club level but also at the Spanish National Team. He was asked about comparisons to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to which he said,

“I don’t think about it much because they were also other times. Above all, I try to focus on the present, on the now, which is the European Championship, and focus on the games.”

“I don’t think about comparisons. I try to be me, play my game and get people to recognize me for being Lamine,” he added.

The teenage sensation then recollected his whereabouts during the last European Championships.

“Not long ago, I was watching the Euros from my sofa. During the Euro 2021, I was in a shopping centre watching with my friends and now I’m here playing,” he said.

On the upcoming Euros

The next topic Yamal dived into was the elephant in the room, the European Championships in Germany for which he is expected to feature as a regular starter for Spain.

“The Champions League and the European Championship are two tournaments in which you show yourself internationally. Instead of pressure, it motivates me to prove what I am,” he began.

“They say we do not have many players who are world-class in their position, but these competitions are won by the team that plays best. Like Argentina in the World Cup,” he added on the noise around La Roja.

Set to be key for Spain. (Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images)
Set to be key for Spain. (Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images)

Speaking on his profile and why he stood out from the numerous options the manager had in Spain, the Barcelona star said,

“It is true that in recent years there have not been as many wingers like me or Nico, or there are fewer. But that’s what we’ve always said, our game is like that and we are very happy that we are recognized in this way.”

“What does the Spain coach ask of me? What they ask me at Barça as well. That I keep my head, have a good time and play as I am,” he added on his role in the National Team.

Looking ahead to the first game of the competition against Croatia, Yamal admitted that it would be far from easy against the World Cup semifinalists.

“It will be very difficult. Croatia is a team that become very strong in these competitions, a rival who have a lot of experience, who know how to play.”

“I hope, obviously, the victory, but it will be very complicated. I watched them in the WC and Brazil and Argentina,” he added.

The winger also specifically spoke about Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol who made a serious impression in the Qatar World Cup and earned a move to Manchester City.

“Yes. He is a great player. He plays for City, which is one of the best teams in the world for me, and he plays as a starter there. For that, you have to be a great player. I really want to face him.”

Yamal was asked if he would participate in the Olympic games after the Euros.

“I’ve already said it. It depends on where we get, obviously, but I think the European Championship is the last thing I have left this season and I hope to enjoy it until the end,” he admitted.

On Barcelona and related topics

Yamal saddened by Xavi’s exit. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Yamal saddened by Xavi’s exit. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Turning towards club-related topics, the young sensation revealed his sadness over Xavi’s sacking but admitted that he was looking forward to the changes that lay ahead.

“Xavi’s departure was a very strange moment. At first, he was leaving, but then he stayed… It was weird because we saw the same thing that you see too,” he said.

“I was very sad because for me he has been the first coach in the elite I have had, but these are things that happen. Xavi’s departure made me sad, but I’m very excited about Flick.”

Elaborating on the new Barcelona manager and his ideology, Yamal said,

“When he was at Bayern, it was the last thing I watched. And also in the German national team. He has a rather offensive game, quite direct. I am very excited. I haven’t talked to him, I guess I’ll see him on the way back and we’ll talk a little.”

He even provided a short, yet crisp description of the football he enjoyed, possibly even giving the new manager a heads-up on his strengths.

“When we have the ball, but also in an open game, back and forth. Obviously, no winger likes to play against a locked-up team and here in the national team I have a great time.”

Finally, the youngster was asked about the areas Barcelona had to improve to be competitive at the highest level, to which he said,

“We must improve the connections that we have had from time to time this season: to score one goal and to get another, or to get to the second half and suddenly score two goals. I think 1v1 we can compete with any team in the world.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo