Rio Ferdinand on what makes Barcelona starlet Lamine Yamal so special

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Rio Ferdinand has praised Barcelona and Spain wonderkid Lamine Yamal’s composure and decision-making following Tuesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final.

La Roja booked their place in Sunday’s final with a 2-1 comeback win over France in Munich, with Yamal netting a wonderful equaliser to become the youngest goalscorer in European Championships history.

Not turning 17 until Saturday — a day before the final in Berlin — Yamal has turned in several eye-catching performances at these Euros and is now the heavy favourite to be named Young Player of the Tournament.

That, of course, is fresh from playing 50 games for Barcelona and winning the La Liga U23 Player of the Season award in 2023/24.

But more than his moments of magic or the stunning goal to help beat France, former England and Manchester United centre-back Ferdinand has been most impressed with Yamal’s ‘simplicity’ and decision-making.

“Yamal plays like someone who has been playing for a long time. He makes the right decisions in the right moments,” Ferdinand said following Tuesday’s semi-final, speaking as a pundit on BBC One.

“The simplicity with which he plays, it is so rare. Normally you come in and you’re trying to prove yourself and you try too hard.

“He always makes the right decision.”

Alan Shearer urges Yamal caution

While the buzz around Yamal is understandable given how rare it is to see a 16-year-old compete so comfortably at the highest level, it’s also important he is given space.

According to ex-Newcastle United and England striker Shearer, Yamal will need to be prepared to come under the spotlight, given the high standards he’s already set.

Shearer said: “The demands and pressures that will be put on him are going to be huge because he has an incredible ability.”

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