Gary Lineker convinced he's identified next Lionel Messi – but Alan Shearer has concerns

Lamine Yamal celebrates his history-making goal against France (Image: Getty)

Gary Lineker compared Lamine Yamal with Lionel Messi after the 16-year-old made history at Euro 2024. Yamal, with his sensational equalising goal against France, became the youngest player to ever score in the European Championship.

His long-distance left-footer cancelled out Randal Kolo Muani’s early header and was soon followed by a beautifully executed strike from Dani Olmo, which proved to be the winner. The Barcelona sensation, who is still at school and celebrates his 17th birthday this weekend, is already being mentioned in the same breath as some of the greats of the game, like Messi and Pele.

Messi shone during the 2006 World Cup aged 18 while Pele netted twice in the 1958 World Cup final when he was just 17. Lineker believes we may be seeing the rise of another great in the sport.

Discussing Yamal on his The Rest is Football podcast, the Match of the Day host said: “We don’t want to get carried away but, boy oh boy, no one’s ever done this stuff. Even Messi was later.

“I’m not saying he’s going to be a Messi or Maradona, but he could be. To do what he’s doing at this age, and he’s so calm. His decision-making and the goal, no one’s ever done that.

“Pele scored two goals in a World Cup final, he was 17, nearly 18. This kid’s 16, nearly 17. You don’t want to go too overboard, you’ve got to be careful with these things.”

Yamal’s emergence has drawn comparisons to a young Wayne Rooney, who made his mark with Everton at the tender age of 16 and debuted for England at 17. Lineker added: “He’s [Yamal] the best 16-year-old I’ve ever seen. Rooney came into things [at 16] and scored a similar kind of goal [against Arsenal in 2002].

Alan Shearer has concerns about Lamine Yamal going forward (Image: The Rest is Football/YouTube)

“This was in the semi-final of the European Championship! I just can’t get my head around his football intelligence and the fact he’s still at school. It’s mind-blowing but also beautiful.”

While conceding it was “impossible not to get carried away”, Alan Shearer expressed concerns about Yamal’s workload and hopes he doesn’t face the same injury woes as another Barca prodigy, Pedri. He said: “This is the conundrum you’ve got. You’ve got someone with an incredible talent and different managers will come in and manage him.

“They’ll see his ability and realise they’re a better team with him in there, who can win them games. There’s the problem. The manager of Barcelona next year is not going to be the Barcelona manager in five years, and it’s a really selfish game. The manager will think, ‘He can win me games’ and is perhaps not interested in what happens in five years’ time.”