Barcelona wonderkid Lamine Yamal has surprisingly named former Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio as his idol growing up.
Yamal has made a blistering start to life with the Blaugrana senior team at just the age of 16. He became the youngest debutant in the La Liga giants' history when he stepped off the bench in a 4-0 win over Real Betis in April. He is also the Catalan giants' youngest player of this century.
The Spanish teenager is viewed as the most exciting product of Barcelona's La Masia academy since Lionel Messi. He has impressed this season already, bagging two assists in four league games.
Asensio enjoyed a similar rise with Real Madrid during his youth days with an impressive debut record of his own. He scored on his La Liga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup and Copa del Rey debuts.
Yamal may be looking to follow in the footsteps of Asensio, albeit on the other side of the El Clasico rivalry. The young trickster has followed his compatriot's run in the Spain national team, and he recently told AS:
"A player in the Spanish NT? There are many great players here, but I have been following Marco Asensio since he joined the National Team for the first time."
The Barcelona academy graduate is set to earn his first international cap for Spain. Lamal has been selected alongside Asensio in La Roja's squad for UEFA European qualifiers against Georgia (September 8) and Cyprus (September 12). He could become his national team's youngest-ever player if he makes his debut in either of those games.
Asensio made his international debut in 2016 aged 20 and has been a mainstay in the Spanish national team since. He has earned 37 caps, scoring two goals and providing 10 assists. He represented Spain at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and was part of the side that won the UEFA Nations League earlier this summer.
Lamal's admiration of Asensio may not upset Barcelona fans too much given he is no longer with rivals Real Madrid. The versatile attacker joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) this summer following the expiration of his contract with Los Blancos.
Marco Asensio responded to rumors that he could join Barcelona once his Real Madrid contract expired
Asensio's future was up in the air during last season amid a lack of game time under Carlo Ancelotti. The Spanish forward started 18 of 51 games across competitions, scoring 12 goals and providing eight assists.
As his contract expiration date drew closer so too did speculation regarding his future. There were reports suggesting he could head to Barcelona in a move that would have shocked Spanish football.
Asensio didn't rule out the prospect of joining the Blaugrana when speaking last September. He told Spanish outlet COPE:
“I honestly don’t know. Like Barca, many have come out. I am focused on the present and giving everything with the national team and with my club."
The Spaniard alluded to the amount of rumors that were circulating at the time. He refused to respond to the reports about joining Xavi's La Liga champions:
“I have not valued it nor have I thought about it. I can’t give you an answer. This morning I had 200 messages. I am in a world where there are many rumors."
Playing for both El Clasico teams has been a rare occurrence in the history of Spanish football. The likes of Ronaldo Nazario, Luis Figo, and Luis Enrique have done so, with Figo being deemed a traitor by Barca fans when he joined Real Madrid.
Instead, Asensio joined PSG earlier this summer and has impressed. He has bagged two goals and one assist in three games across competitions already.