Lamine Yamal Lionel Messi Barcelona GFXGOAL

Lamine Yamal's adidas poster boy deal and link to Lionel Messi is no coincidence - Barcelona's gifted wonderkid is a megastar in the making and just what financially crippled Catalans need

In 2006, a young player out of the Barcelona academy signed a deal with adidas. The agreement, reportedly worth around $500,000 per year, felt like a hefty investment for a 19-year-old. After all, the player hadn't yet played a full season of professional football. By the end of the previous season, he had scored six goals and added three assists. He only had 11 top-flight starts to his name.

That deal, for that player, Lionel Messi, proved to be a bargain for Adidas. Now, 18 years later, another La Masia graduate has done the same thing. Lamine Yamal, another right-winger out of the Barcelona academy, penned a long-term agreement to be one of the faces of adidas' global football brand. He will be the only other player in the world to wear Messi's exact boots - adding a visual link to a spiritual connection that has been drawn between the two for some time.

And though it will lead to immense pressure on the teenager, it is an ideal arrangement for the Balugrana. Since Messi left, the Catalan club have lacked a central marketable star - a world class presence who can not only change a game but also sell shirts in spades. Yamal, the newly minted face of adidas, can be that player.

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