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Barcelona’s Yamal Lamine Breaks Celestine Babayaro’s UCL Record




FC Barcelona youngster, Yamal Lamine has broken the UEFA Champions League record of Nigerian legend, Celestine Babayaro on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.

Coach Xavi Hernandez decided to start Yamal Lamine in the Champions League group stage game against Portuguese club, Porto on the said date. Lamine got the debut Champions League start at the age of 16 years and 83 days, which makes him the youngest player to ever do so in the world.

Before him, Nigerian retired footballer, Celestine Babayaro was the youngest footballer in the world to start a Champions League game. Babayaro made the record when he started a Champions League game for Belgian side Anderlecht against Steaua in the 1994-1995 season. During that period, he was 16 years and 86 days old.

From there, Babayaro moved to Chelsea in 1997 and made a bigger name for himself by helping the Premier League club to win one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and one FA Cup.

As for Yamal Lamine, the debut Champions League start didn’t go perfectly as he had to leave the pitch toward the last 20 minutes of the game to use the restroom and didn’t come back until the game ended.

Yamal Lamine

Yamal Lamine

After Barca had played with a man down for almost ten minutes, Xavi replaced the teenager with former Chelsea wingback, Marcos Alonso in the 80th minute.

After the game which ended in a 1-0 victory in favour of Barcelona, the club’s coach, Xavi admitted that Lamine had complained of not feeling too well before the game.

The coach said: “Lamine Yamal was unwell. He had an illness, he had been telling me for a while.”

He added: “I took advantage of a break to tell him to be quick and go to the toilet, but in the end, they told me that he wouldn’t be able to get back on the pitch.”

Note that Youssoufa Moukoko of Borussia Dortmund is still the youngest player to ever play in the Champions League after coming on from the bench in Borussia Dortmund’s 1-2 win over Russian Zenit St. Petersburg on December 8, 2020. He set the record when he was 16 years and 18 days old. However, Yamal Lamine is the youngest player to start a Champions League game.