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Lamine Yamal gives Barcelona a brief and tantalising glimpse of the future

Just 15 years of age...

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

It was for less than 10 minutes, but that glimpse of Lamine Yamal could be a watershed moment for FC Barcelona and its supporters.

That he is still only 15 years of age and playing for the mighty Barca is scarcely believable on any level, but he actually didn’t look out of place. Far from it in fact, given that he nearly scored and also nearly set up an assist.

The cameo handed him by Xavi was surely to test the waters and to see how he’d react playing in front of a partisan home crowd.

No matter how many times his name has been mentioned in dispatches, the proof of the pudding was most definitely going to be in the eating.

Would he shrivel up and hide as you’d expect most 15-year-olds would in that situation, or would he flourish with the fearlessness of youth on his side?

FC Barcelona v Real Betis - LaLiga Santander Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barca’s notoriously fickle fanbase also had to be assuaged of course, and they finally got their first glimpse of the sensational teenager.

Xavi has previously said that he was in the first-team squad on merit, and not because his contract is up, and the occasion clearly didn’t faze him.

The inevitable questions will come thick and fast now, however, and that’s bound to be a harsh learning curve which is potentially more important to his growth than his displays on a football field.

What’s interesting of course is that he is another homegrown youngster who has cost the club precisely nothing in transfer fees, and in this time of financial prudence for the club his emergence can’t be underplayed.

Yes, in an ideal world we’d be able to bring in the likes of Vitor Roque and Lionel Messi without any issues whatsoever, but Josep Maria Bartomeu’s mismanagement of the club has put paid to any such transfers being simple to get over the line - if they even get anywhere near the line.

Perhaps Raphinha summed things up best after the match when he was asked what he was doing at the age of 15.

“I was speaking with the other players, I think I was playing for my neighbourhood team,“ he said.

“Seeing him enter this stadium with all these people is incredible, it would have been better if he scored, but he will score in a better moment and will be very important for the club.”

It really was unbelievable to see this man-child making his debut, more so that he wasn't completely overawed and took it all in his stride.

Let’s not get on the hype train too early mind because we have all seen how that’s turned out for Ansu.

If there are other opportunities to give Lamine Yamal some experience this season why not take them.

This isn’t a gimmick but a chance for Barcelona and La Masia to rise again.

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