Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez made history on Sunday by starting 16-year-olds Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi against Real Betis.
Cubarsi was rewarded for a strong cameo in midweek against Unionistas with his full debut, while Yamal lined up in attack alongside Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres.
The starting XI meant that Xavi has become the first coach in La Liga to start two players under the age of 17 this century, per Opta.
2 - Barcelona's Xavi Hernández became the first coach in the 21st century to start a LaLiga match with two players under the age of 17: Lamine Yamal (16 years and 192 days) and Pau Cubarsí (16 years and 364 days). Freshness. pic.twitter.com/oNPZwdSwGq— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 21, 2024
Xavi spoke about his decision to go with Cubarsi and Yamal ahead of kick-off at the Benito Villamarin.
“Lamine is not a surprise, he is a reality. I see them ready, like Cubarsí, Héctor Fort and Marc Guiu,” he said. “The academy is a treasure. We are brave to bet on them and we hope it works out well.”
The decision to start Cubarsi is a surprise move for Xavi, as he could have gone with Sergi Roberto in his starting XI instead, but it’s good to see him continuing to trust in youth.