“He Has Tremendous Potential” Portuguese Manager Says Yamal Lamine Can Emulate Mbappe

Yamal Lamine
Yamal Lamine
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Portuguese Manager Carlos Carvajal thinks Yamal Lamine can be at Kylian Mbappe’s level

Former Celta Vigo manager Carlos Carvalhal has encouraged Barcelona youngster Lamine Yamal to reach the level of Kylian Mbappe’ in an exclusive interview with SPORT.

On Wednesday night, Barcelona will face FC Porto in their second Group H match in the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.

SPORT spoke with Carvalhal, who played for FC Porto and faced Barça as manager of Celta Vigo last season, before their journey to Portugal.

Lamine Yamal was one of the numerous things he highlighted during the interview, with Carvalhal suggesting that the 16-year-old’s breakthrough reminds him of Cristiano Ronaldo’s at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson.

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“When he starts he does very well and when he gets ten minutes, he does too. It reminds me of Cristiano Ronaldo’s process with Ferguson at Manchester United. This is a very important process for his growth and Xavi is doing a phenomenal job,” he said.

Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe

“He has tremendous potential and, if he continues like this, he’s going to be at Mbappé’s level,” Carvalhal added.

He did, however, recommend that Yamal be handled carefully, saying: “Beware of young players and the path they take, although it doesn’t seem to be the case with Lamine. He is at a club that knows how to take care of its players, knows how to manage them.”

Carvajal On Barcelona Under Xavi’s Coacing

When asked if there was anything different about Barcelona from last season to this season, Carvalhal emphasized the defensive issues, highlighting the absence of Sergio Busquets as a big point.

“The reality is that Barça have a great team, with their own identity, and a great coach. When we talk about Barça, we talk about Xavi,” he stated.

“Maybe last year they were more consistent defensively, but there have been some changes. Oriol is one thing and Busquets is another. In terms of attacking ability, they are very strong and they suffer a bit in defensive transition.”

Carvalhal, like Robert Moreno before today, emphasized Joao Cancelos’s position and how it creates defensive space, saying:

“Because it’s in a period of evolution. For example, in the position of the full-backs, which is always deep. Cancelo plays almost as a midfielder and spaces are created.”

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